I’ve been a user of Extensis’ Suitecase Fusion for Mac OSX for a long time. I had a chance to play with version 5 this weekend, and I was pretty blown away by some of the new features. For the purposes of rapid font selection (especially during web design and prototyping) two excellent new features are the online font library integration with Google Fonts and WebINK, and the “Web View” that allows you to quickly change fonts on a live website.
Google Fonts and WebINK integration
Suitcase Fusion 5 is integrated with web font services, like WebINK and Google Web Fonts, so fonts from those services appear right in the in-app font panel, offering access to more than 6500 web fonts. This is a great addition to my font library. I especially like the Google Fonts integration as I can now preview some of their fonts without having to leave the application.
Areas for improvement
One issue that I had with using web fonts is the sheer number of fonts. Especially when you’re in Web View, all of the fonts are strung across the bottom. The only thing you can do is go through them one by one. This can be an incredibly daunting task if you have to go through 6,500 fonts. Some sort of filtering mechanism would be really nice to have.
This feature is AWESOME. You can use Fusion’s internal web browser to pull up any website you want. You can then select which text you want to change, and click a font in your list to quickly replace the font. This is an incredibly useful feature for the web design and development process. Many times, a website is laid out, but the customer would like to see different font combinations. This feature provides a really quick mechanism to pull up your existing site and quickly change the fonts with any of the fonts in your library (this also includes being able to preview fonts in Google Fonts or WebINK).
Features I would like to see in the next version.
Looking at this feature from the perspective of rapid font prototyping, it would be really nice to have more control over the selection areas. Some key changes in this area might include the ability to change colors, expand the width of the text’s bounding box, or drag to move the placement of the text box.
Photoshop and Creative Cloud Integration
The new version of Suitecase Fusion also has full integration with Adobe’s new Creative Cloud suite. The integrated font panels within Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (and other Create Suite apps) allow you to instantly preview and activate any font right from the panels window.
Overall, Suitecase Fusion v5 is a really elegant and feature-packed font manager. For more information on the product, please take a look at the Extensis Suitcase Fusion 5 website. Any serious website designers and developers needing a heavy duty font manager need not look any further. Suitecase Fusion 5, available for both Mac OSX and Windows, goes well above and beyond any any other product in its class.