The FontShop Plugin


4 of 5 stars
What’s this?

This new Photoshop plugin lets you preview FontShop’s library of 150,000+ typefaces directly in your working Photoshop document. I just installed it and gave it a try, and it’s a very well done implementation, even if it’s not the most elegant execution one could hope for. (Note: I had to update my Adobe Extension Manager software before I could install it.)

Here’s how it works. You create a type layer within Photoshop with any of the existing fonts on your system (it doesn’t matter which) and type in your content. Then, from the FontShop plugin palette, you select any of FontShop’s fonts and click on the preview button. The plugin then reaches out to the FontShop server (I’m guessing) to generate a new image layer with the content from your type layer, rendered in the desired font. To be clear, the new layer is an image layer, so you cannot manipulate it the way you can a text layer, though it can of course use any standard Photoshop layer effects you like (drop shadows, embossing, etc.).

In the past I’ve lamented the fact that it’s not easy to try typefaces before you buy them, a problem that the Internet should have solved long ago. Though of course I would’ve liked it if this solution gave us access to the real fonts, the fact that it makes it significantly easier to try out new ones in the context of our existing workflows is a big deal. FontShop did a great job on this. Download it here.

  1. I find the FontShop solution to be inferior to WebInk’s Photoshop plugin, which downloads TTF versions of their fonts and allows you to use them the same way as fonts installed on your system. It requires you to download a trial of Suitcase, but the plugin continues to work even after the trial expires.

    The downside is that WebInk’s font library isn’t as good as FontShop’s. I imagine that licensing issues at FontShop prevented them from developing a solution as elegant as WebInk’s.

    The plugin is available here: link

  2. Jacques: I wasn’t familiar with WebInk’s plugin, thanks. It does seem more geared towards Web design though. In theory, the FontShop plugin is for ‘traditional’ typesetting.

Thank you! Your remarks have been sent to Khoi.