Lettercase is a font manager app that is currently in development by Micah Rich. He has taken a very interesting approach to how you might manage your fonts. Backing them up to the web and the ability to “share” your font stack with others is an awesome idea. I’m sure it’s something many would love to see.
To give us a bit of an insight into his project, Micah had this to say:
Lettercase was an idea I had a bit over 2 years ago, a little while after starting The League of Moveable Type. The specifics have changed a lot over the course of that time, but the foundation is simply that no one’s done font management right yet, and no one’s really ever done anything differently. Now, some people believe that a font manager is about organizing your fonts, but I think that’s only part of what the real purpose is. When you start up your font manager, you’re not going in with the purpose of cleaning the place up, you’re going in with the purpose of picking one or two fonts to use – probably for a project you’re starting, or in the middle of. I can think of 2 ways that a designer can find and decide on a font. First is that they play with it, and get inspired by the letterforms and character shapes, which occasionally spurs an idea. Second is that they see how someone else has used a font, and it opens their eyes to a new way of seeing something they might have already breezed over. How it works: So the way it works is this – there’s a little menu app (just for OS X Lion, right now) that watches your font folder, and syncs it with the website. When you add a font, it’ll upload it for you. When you delete a font, it’ll archive it in your database. You leave that running, and it sits there silently keeping an eye on your fonts. This should suit Designer #1 who finds inspiration in the black & white letterforms of a beautiful font, but for Designer #2, there’s something else. You can’t see it in these preview screenshots, but the twist that I personally find more interesting is that you’ll be able to attach screenshots to your families. For each family on your dashboard, there’ll be handful of shots from other people who have that font, too, so you can look them through and be inspired by how someone else chose to use it, potentially giving you a super cool idea of how you could, too. Later on, I imagine you’ll be following people to see what work they’ve shared, and essentially build a little portfolio for yourself of all the cool stuff you’ve done, and with which fonts. There are a few fun little features sprinkled around the application as well, stuff that’s never really been done that I expect people will later start considering mandatory. When you delete a font, for example, Lettercase stores backups of all your fonts in the cloud, for example – so that later, we’ll be able to sync between computers (if your licenses allow it, of course). Or if you delete a font, because you don’t need it right now, you’ll be able to re-download it from your archive, so the fonts you’ve bought are never really gone, and yet never taking up unnecessary space. And I’ll be implementing tagging, too, to help you organize your fonts into collections and search for what you want – but because everyone will be tagging, Lettercase will be able to offer suggestions, or possible even auto-classify your fonts based on how most everyone else has done it. It’s little benefits like that that I feel will add up to being a font manager that actually helps you find what you want, rather than just put your fonts in lists and forget which ones you have.
It will be interesting to see how this project turns out. From the looks of things, Michah is creating the first social font manager.