Why Manage Digital Assets containing Postscript Fonts?
Your Digital Assets are part of your everyday creative toolbox; you need to know how to find them, how to use them, and when to use them. Every organization with a collection of Digital Assets needs a way to manage them. Some of the challenges of digital asset management include:
- Digital Assets that are stored in multiple places or within multiple tools are more difficult to find and navigate
- Projects may be stored locally on user machines or spread across disparate shared locations
- There could be variant versions of a file stored in the same place
- Installing new applications can make for unexpected changes to the handling of your Digital Assets
- Having to source new files or redo work can waste production time
The last two points are highlighted as they are particularly relevant for assets that contain Postscript Fonts. Applications are updating to end support for these fonts, which could cause issues that waste production time. To avoid these problems and their secondary effects, manage these digital assets proactively. By resolving these issues, you can:
- End Missing Font interruptions in the workflow.
- Get back to being creative sooner, rather than constantly fixing problems.
- Maintain compatibility and future-proof legacy files.
- Remove Postscript Fonts from the workflow to prevent further issues.
This guide will provide you with the information you need to get your Digital Assets containing Postscript Fonts centralized and under control.
Best Practices for Effective Digital Asset Management
- Analyze your current state. Review/Audit your assets regularly on an ongoing basis.
- Keep commonly used assets and templates up to date and in an easy to find location – Consider tags to keep assets prominent and easier to find.
- Maintain a logical structure, understood by all users, with centralized storage for a single source of truth.
- Identify and separate all out-of-date and incompatible assets.
- Prioritize and fix older files proactively.
- Create shared and centralized locations for your teams.
About This Guide
This guide has recommendations and step-by-step instructions to help you understand how to best handle your Digital Assets containing Postscript fonts with Extensis Connect. The process involves you:
- Gathering your assets
- Auditing your assets
- Organizing your assets
- Centralizing your assets
- Identifying assets containing Postscript fonts
- Assigning assets to be fixed
- Fixing assets containing Postscript fonts
- Planning ahead
Gathering your assets
Gathering assets from source to source is the primary step in creating a single source for review. Ensuring nothing is missed right from the start will save time and aid in the audit, organization, identification and planning process ahead. Knowing which assets your organization has and centralizing them in one place will help you achieve your final objectives.
Assets may be distributed across your creative user base. Consider who creates, edits, approves and consumes assets, and who is therefore best qualified to gather the assets together. We recommend identifying all sources where assets are stored. Be sure to examine the following locations:
- Shared storage – Can include NAS and other networked storage solutions such as fileservers, mapped drives etc. Additionally, DAM systems and other shared devices.
- Siloed or Personal Devices – Includes individual desktops, mobile devices, external hard drives, digital cameras and memory sticks/cards etc.
- Cloud storage systems – Paid or free services such as Google Drive, Box, Dropbox or any other applications with built-in storage included. May include both personal and shared cloud storage.
- Attachments - Email attachments, Social Media channels, communication applications, or other internally shared apps such as SharePoint may have file attachments that should be included.
Once you have identified all the sources, plan for who, where, and how to review them. Make sure to allow plenty of room, as storage of these files might take up a lot of space. Consider using a centralized location to enable collaboration on this effort.
Auditing your assets
Auditing your collected assets is a crucial step in prioritizing important files for fixing first. With assets gathered, your team can then decide which assets have been highly utilized in the production process over the past several months or are continually recurring projects, versus which assets are finished items and used purely for reference and rare revisits. We recommend splitting your assets into these two groups – Current Projects and Archival Projects.
Current projects are the files your organization uses regularly. These assets are part of current or ongoing work for your organization or your client(s). They may also include popular files repeatedly used to follow things like branding guidelines, such as logos, graphics, templates, etc.
Archival Projects are files that your organization wishes to retain but are not part of any current work. They may be internal files or work for clients, but these assets no longer require modification. They are retained for posterity, inspiration, and reference. However, because these assets may need to be available later, ensuring their ongoing compatibility is essential for current and future projects.
When reviewing your assets, we recommend keeping both project types in mind, but prioritizing the current projects. Consider the resources you have available to work on this issue, without causing undue burden to existing work and deadlines. Focus on what’s best for your organization when moving your assets to Extensis Connect. Bear in mind that doing nothing also has an impact to your workflow and can be worse than making a start on fixing your documents. You may also decide to update archival projects when they are revisited one-by-one, rather than processing them in bulk, as they can distract from the priority documents and put an undue burden to your time.
When auditing your organizations assets, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need continual access to all assets?
- Has this asset been used in the past several months?
- When was it last used?
- How often is it used?
- Will this asset impact future work?
- Is it still relevant?
- Should it be archived?
- Is this asset a Template for your organization or a client?
- Is this asset a Brand Guide for your organization or a client?
Organizing your assets
Creating a folder hierarchy will help you to sort and decide which assets are current and which are archival, which will inform the steps that follow.
Start by creating two main folders for your project assets: Archive and Current. Then, create subfolders for each, based on how you desire your assets to be organized. Every workflow is unique, and you may already have an organized structure you use daily. To help, here are some examples of strategies for organizing and naming of folders:
- Client Name
- Project Name
- A-Z subfolders
- Commission/Completion Date
- YYYY-MM (this naming method keeps things organized in calendar order)
- Project Name
- Collection Name
- File Size
- File Type
- Brand Guides
- Style Guides
- Organization/Office Location
- Project Manager or Project Group
- Creative Group or Creative Assignee
Creating a manageable and logical folder structure will have a significant impact on how your assets will be organized in Connect. Once you have completed your folder structure, each hierarchy will inform which asset folders in the Current Projects folder should be uploaded to Connect first.
Centralizing your assets with Connect
There are a couple of ways you can move assets into Extensis Connect. Use the following link for instructions on how to add assets to Extensis Connect:
To maintain the folder structure previously created drag-and-drop folders onto the ‘Libraries’ area of Connect Assets. The same structure will be recreated within Connect as files are uploaded.
Prior to uploading and organizing your files with Connect, please review the following recommendations:
Check your upload speed
Checking your upload speed will tell you how quick your connection is. Since Connect is a Cloud service, uploading files to our cloud storage platform can take more or less time depending on the speed of your upload connection to the internet. To find your upload speed, perform an internet search for “Speed Test” and select a service. Here is one example:
For best results, it is recommended to have a minimum UPLOAD speed of 5 Mbps or higher. The higher the number, the faster the process will be.
Check the amount of space the assets will use
Before uploading, check the folder sizes to see if you have enough room in Connect for the folder(s) you are going to upload. By right clicking on the folder name, you can select Get Info on macOS or Properties on Windows OS to show the file size of the folder.
In the example below, you will see a Current Assets folder showing a total of 206 items that is 15.7 GB in file size.
Calculate the space you will use
Connect allows each user 100GB with a Connect Fonts subscription and 1TB of space with a Connect Insight Subscription for uploading assets. You will be able to check the amount of space used overall and by individual files from the top level of your Current Assets folder.
Create smaller batches
If the upload process is taking too long, or if there’s a risk of interruption to your internet connection, we recommend that you upload files in smaller batches by selecting fewer files or folders to upload at a time. Select a smaller group first to see if that resolves the asset ingestion time.
Identifying assets with Postscript fonts
The primary function of this guide is to help your organization identify assets with Postscript Type 1 Fonts. Recent updates to several of Adobe’s Creative applications no longer allow Postscript Type 1 Fonts to activate or work in their applications. Identifying these assets ahead of time can be a crucial step in saving your organization time and money.
The following steps will help guide you in using Extensis Connect to identify these assets manually and automatically.
Assets may be opened one by one to see if they contain Postscript fonts. They can be identified in several ways, depending on the application, including:
Text rendering using a default font
Text highlighted as having an issue
Missing Font warnings
End of Support warnings
Font Usage Report
Checking files in this way can work for Archival projects where files are revisited occasionally. However, the process is inherently cumbersome, especially since many documents may not contain any PostScript fonts at all, yet still need to be opened and checked to verify. The time involved with manual identification is often a deterrent from proactively addressing the Postscript issue, leading teams to manually fix document problems as encountered. This approach can be unpredictable and very time-consuming.
Automatic identification with Extensis Connect
Using Extensis Connect completely removes the need to open files one by one. As files are uploaded, Connect will automatically provide Analytics identifying all documents that contain Postscript fonts.
Administrators can Open Report to see full details with filter and sort options, including by File Name, Last Modified date and its current Status. A link to View Asset shows a preview of the file and its associated properties (e.g., Size, Dimensions, Libraries, Tags).
Assigning assets to be fixed
Now that you have identified assets to be fixed, you can use Connect to assign them to your creative team to be reviewed and fixed. Use the following steps to assign assets to be fixed:
With the Report of Files with PostScript Fonts, an Administrator can click on the drop-down options by each document to set the ‘Status.’
Documents set To Fix are those that you want corrected by replacing the PostScript fonts. If an Administrator is unsure whether a file should be corrected, it is recommended to still select this as the default status, as this will enable a creative user to make the decision instead.
For any assets you intend to leave unchanged, you can set to the status to ignore these files. The Analytics Report will adjust automatically to ignore these files in the report metrics. It is recommended to move ignored documents to the Archive Projects Library if not already in that area.
Font Replacement Suggestions
To aid users in replacing PostScript fonts, an Administrator can provide suggestions for which fonts should be used to replace each PostScript font in a document. Click to View Asset, and you can see details of the fonts in use in the given document. PostScript fonts will be highlighted.
Click the toggle in the top right corner to switch from viewing asset information to Font Replacement Suggestions. Then click + to add a suggestion.
Select the font to be replaced, then select the font suggestion you wish to provide to your users. Sort and filter as necessary to find your preferred suggestion. Repeat for each font that needs replacement.
Suggestions made via the Report will also be visible to creative users within Connect Assets using the same buttons.
Fixing assets with Postscript fonts
With the status ‘To Fix’ assigned onto assets, it is time to choose who will handle editing documents and replacing fonts. Consider who worked on each project previously and existing workloads and responsibilities when selecting users.
Whilst more users will mean faster turnaround, ensure everyone knows the workflow to minimize instances of multiple users trying to work on the same file as this can lead to lost work. Connect will deliver a warning to a user if a file is already in use, but still allows a user to open the file if they so choose.
Only one user’s edits will be applied when the asset is saved.
Give users access to both Connect Assets and Connect Fonts so they can work on the files that need to be fixed. Administrators can create and modify users in Connect Administration. If not already assigned, allocate libraries to the user (or users to the library) to ensure that font access is available.
Working a file
In Connect Assets, users will see all the assets previously uploaded, along with the ‘Libraries’ reflecting the folder structure created. In addition, there will be a separate library, created automatically, called PostScript Files to Fix. When selected, this will show the files marked as To Fix by the Administrator.
It is recommended that users work on files one at a time. This is to avoid font conflicts should two files need different versions of the same font when replacing. It also reduces instances of multiple users simultaneously working on the same file as fewer files will be open at any given moment to work on files, users should repeat the following steps:
- Change the status to In Progress. This helps other users see the file is already being worked on.
- Double-click the asset to see which PostScript fonts are in use in the document.
- View any Font Replacement Suggestions by selecting the relevant tab.
- Use Connect Fonts to search for and activate the replacement suggestions.
- Right-click on the asset and choose ‘Edit’ to open the file.
- Automatic-Activation may provide alternative font suggestions due to the ‘Missing Fonts’. Let it activate if you’re happy with the suggestions.
- Once the document is open, replace the PostScript fonts using the activated alternatives.
- Save and close the document.
If all PostScript fonts have been replaced the document will automatically update its status to Fixed in Connect.
If there are no suitable Font Replacement Suggestions or alternatives provided by the automatic activation, simply
- Save and close the document
- Update the document status in Connect Assets to...
For more information on True Edit in Connect Assets see: https://extensis.zendesk.com/knowledge/articles/11795620924187/
Replacement font recommendations
It is recommended to replace fonts with the following considerations:
- As first choice, always select a font that has an identical PostScript Name. (e.g., AvantGarde-Book)
- Contact the source foundry to see if they have an updated version of the font if you don’t have one.
- If no exact match, use a similarly named font (e.g., ITCAvantGardeStd-Bk) to keep the visual style.
- Increase the options with more foundries available. Has the risk of text reflowing as the font metrics may differ.
- Select OpenType fonts where available over other font formats
- Ensure you are using Licensed fonts for your replacements
- For documents with no obvious Font Replacements users can use Smart Tags and QuickMatch features in Connect Fonts to help look for similar fonts that may be acceptable replacements.
- This can be particularly helpful to avoid added costs in licensing more fonts compared to using fonts that you have already licensed in your collection.
For archival files, if replacing the fonts is problematic, it is recommended to Output to PDF with the PostScript fonts embedded. This will preserve the look without replacing the fonts and is acceptable since the document will not need editing in the future.
As the status on files changes, Connect Administration Analytics will automatically update the report. We recommend that Administrators set a schedule to periodically monitor the report and track progress. Administrators can monitor to see how many files have been fixed and how many still contain PostScript fonts. If Administrators Open Report, they will be able to see and filter all files and easily identify all Blocked assets reported by users. Administrators should then either:
- Review the document and source suitable Font replacements.
- Add the new replacement fonts to Connect Fonts so they are available to users.
- Update the status from Blocked, to To Fix so that files will be presented back to the user as a file that needs work once more.
- Set the document status to Ignore to remove it from consideration for both users and the Analytics report.
Once you see that 100% of files have been fixed, you should then seek to remove all PostScript fonts from your font libraries in Connect Fonts to avoid future issues. There is a choice to do this earlier in the process to ensure no new work is created using PostScript fonts, but it can be worth keeping them during the Fix stage, should you care to in case you wish to Output to PDF your archived/ignored documents. With the PostScript fonts embedded. We recommend separating these fonts into a unique Font Library in Connect that is only accessible to specific users. This will significantly reduce the risk of ongoing widespread use.
Now that your assets are organized, searchable, and ready for use, it’s time to come up with a plan for your future assets. Here are a few things you can do to keep things in check moving forward.
Identify individuals in your organization that will continue to review, update, upload, and identify assets that need fixing. These individuals are key to the success of your organization's asset collection.
Define and document a Process
Defining and documenting this process will help others in your organization know where to find, how to find, how to upload, and how to work with the assets. Having a defined process will cut down on unnecessary assets in your organization's current projects Connect asset libraries.
Establish Review Times
Establish a timeline of when to review your asset libraries. Like anything else assets can become stale. Moving appropriate items to archival status will help keep your assets organized and ensure clarity around the most current projects, templates, brand guides, and style guides over time. It will also help cut down on unnecessary clutter.
There may also come a time when even archived assets no longer serve ongoing purpose and are simply a cost to maintain. It’s okay to consider deletion if it is clear an item will never be used again for any purpose.
We recommend periodic reviews of your assets on a regular schedule. How often this should be will depend on your project lifecycle. Choose times that work best with your organization's schedule. Review times should occur in between work requiring the asset, or when time allows for regular asset reviews.
For example, if you have certain assets which are extensively used at the beginning of the year, we suggest reviewing these towards the end of their use cycle. Alternately, review these assets at least one month prior to the assets being used again.
To Archive or Not to Archive
All assets should be reviewed immediately after use to identify whether they will continue to be used in the foreseeable future. If an asset will continue to be used, then it should remain within the Connect Library. If the asset is no longer needed for future projects, it should move to your archive location for later retrieval if needed.
Are we there yet?
Yes. We’re all done giving recommendations for now! But your journey is like a good book that you can’t put down.
Luckily for everyone using Connect, assistance is just a click away. Connect has built-in support for anyone who needs it. Unlike those Ruby slippers, you only need to click the Connect Assistance Robot in the lower right corner once to see more help content.