I’ve been looking through the directory of open source fonts Google makes available and they’re so much nicer than what’s on my Mac system. Can I just download them and use them in Pages and elsewhere on my Mac?
I can remember when you purchased typefaces one by one, and that there were companies offering up discounted collections because they acquired them cheaply. Turned out that each individual font was poorly implemented, with broken letterforms when they were large, incorrect kerning hints and common layout pairs like “fi” completely missing. Special characters? What, are ya kiddin’ me?
Nowadays there are thousands of excellent, professional grade typefaces available in a complete distribution, hand-tuned for italics, bold, semi-bold and beautiful to use online and in print. And they’re free. A lot of that is thanks to the open source nature of the fonts, and a little sprinkling of Google doing the work to ensure all the license terms are managed through Google Fonts. Of course, modern operating systems ship with lots of typefaces too, a far cry from the original dozen or so in the first Mac system or Windows computer.
But let’s hop over to Google Fonts and install one of their 900+ typefaces on a MacOS X system running 10.14.1 Mojave.
Start on their site. Lots of lovely faces and a very nice page layout too. Here are some options I like:
In fact, I really like Spicy Rice, so I’m going to install that so I can use it for headlines and in video projects…
To do that, simply click on the name of the font. It offers up a lot more detail:
Really beautiful, and look at the clean lines and curves of the Ss glyphs. So nice. So let’s get it!
To use a font from the Google Font library, click on the red “+” circle on the top right. On this particular view it includes the explanatory text “Select This Font” too. A click and it’s added to your “shopping cart”:
This is where Google’s famously bad user interface design shows up again, because if you want to download the typeface you can’t use “EMBED” and you can’t use “CUSTOMIZE”, you have to just notice the tiny red down arrow over the horizontal line on the top right. See it?
A click and a ZIP archive with the typeface file or files will automatically be downloaded to your computer. Unzip it (just double-click on a Mac system) and you’ll find a folder with the following inside:
The OFL document you can read if you’re curious, but you can ignore it too. It’s all about the open font license terms, but you do have the right to install and use it however you’d like. The key file or files are the .TTF or TrueType Format files. That’s where the typeface itself is stored. Again, double click, but this time the .TTF file.
It opens in a handy Mac utility called Font Book:
If you’re guessing that you click on the “Install Font” button on the lower right, you’re exactly correct! So… click on the “Install Font” button in Font Book to actually install this font. You switch to a different view that’ll list all the user installed fonts on the computer:
Looks good and this means it’s installed. Now you can jump into your favorite programs and the new font Spicy Rice (or whatever you downloaded) will be an available option. If it isn’t, you might need ot quit and restart the program for it to be aware of the new typeface.
As a demo, I can now use Spicy Rice with Stickies!
Pretty darn cool, actually. Now you’ll just have to restrain yourself from installing all 900 fonts at Google Fonts!