What do you do when you’re faced with creating a great design—but have no images to bring variation and interest to the piece? John McWade’s answer to this common challenge is to use more white space, also known as negative space. This is the portion of a page left unmarked, such as margins, gutters, and space between columns, lines of type, and graphics. It may sound like a simplistic solution, but it’s a great way to make your design more dynamic, and attract your viewer’s attention.
Posts Tagged ‘typography’
Type has two primary goals. The first is to convey information (what the actual words say), and the second is to add further context to the information. A typeface helps form that critical first impression about your message; before the viewer even reads what the words say, the typeface offers important clues. This is why it is so important to choose the right one. As you can see above, typefaces are so much more than just stylized alphabets; they have personalities that come across immediately and inform the viewer.
In this week’s InDesign Secrets episode, David Blatner shows you how to use the free IndyFont script to create one custom font character that you can use to create a custom bullet. There is also a commercial version of the IndyFont script that allows you to make complete fonts, but for our purposes today, we only need the free version that lets you make a single bullet character.
If you want to get right to watching the technique, here’s David explaining the process, video style:
If you prefer a step-by-step visual walk-through of this technique, here’s how it’s done:
Part one: Downloading and installing the IndyFont script
Installing a script isn’t as daunting as it might sound. First, and perhaps most obvious, you’ll need to download the script, which you can do by clicking here to automatically download the .zip file, or by visiting indiscripts.com.
After the file is unzipped, installing the script simply requires dragging it to the correct folder. To discover where that folder is, open the Scripts panel in InDesign (Window > Utilities > Scripts), then right-click on the User folder and choose Reveal in Finder (or Reveal in Explorer if you’re working in Windows).
Next, open up the Scripts Panel folder and drag the script file, indyfont_demo.jsxbin, from your Downloads folder, or wherever you downloaded and unzipped it, and put it into your Scripts panel.
There’s no need to restart InDesign or perform any other acrobatics, just return to InDesign to find the script visible in the panel.
Part two: Pasting in your vector art
Next, you’ll need a piece of vector art to turn into your new character. You’ll want it to be fairly substantive and black. I thought it would be fun to use my personal light bulb doodle, a little graphic that I draw in my notebook margin when I want to mark an idea. Here’s the vector-based version of the light bulb:
Note: IndyFont requires that the vector art be defined in black. (Possibly, I learned this the hard way. )
To turn this graphic into a bullet character, double-click on the IndyFont script in the Scripts panel. In the Create font template dialog box, enter the name of your new font. (Don’t worry, it’s still a font, even if there’s only one character.) The /bullet in the Character field indicates that your graphic is going to become the default bullet character.
IndyFont will automatically create a new InDesign file. (One of the beauties of IndyFont is that you get to work primarily in InDesign; the weird thing is that it’s not particularly intuitive.) On the second page of that new file, there’s a place to paste your vector art. The red line represents the text baseline, and the green vertical line can be moved left and right to accommodate your artwork. It’s important that your artwork is placed between the two vertical green lines.
Run the script again and you’ll be asked where you want to save your font. In this case, go with the default InDesign Fonts and click OK.
Part three: Applying your new single-character font
When you return to InDesign, your new character will be available in any place a standard character would be. So in David’s example, he sets his new character up as a custom bullet. So let’s say I started with this boring list of our most recent InDesign weekly ideas:
To customize the bullets in your list, first Alt-click on the bulleted list icon in the options bar.
Then, in the Bullets and Numbering section of the Paragraph Style Options dialog box, click the Add button.
Then in the Add Bullets dialog box, navigate to your new character. It will be in the Font Family called IF (for IndyFont) and it will be named whatever name you gave it (I named my light bulb bulbosaur). Since you only created one IndyFont character, it will be the only character you see.
Click OK twice to back out of the two dialog boxes, and voilà, your boring bullet has become your interesting new character. If you’ve applied a paragraph style (in this case, I’ve turned my light bulbs a nice lynda Yellow), you can update all the bullets at once:
To see these steps in action, make sure to check out the video Making a font with InDesign using the IndyFont script on lynda.com, or embedded at the top of this post. For members of lynda.com, David’s partner in InDesign secrecy, Anne-Marie Concepción also has a member-exclusive movie in the lynda.com library this week called Finding where that color is used that discusses how to find where a specific color is being used within your InDesign document.
David and Anne-Marie will be back in two weeks with more InDesign Secrets.
In this week’s free Deke’s Techniques video, Deke turns ordinary text into…a shrubbery! This relatively simple technique combines a text layer and a leafy photo to make letters that appear to be made from foliage.
Deke begins by creating a mask using the standard Myriad Pro text. Then, using the Refine Mask command (in Photoshop CS5 or later—later meaning Photoshop CS6 beta), he renders his text to have a realistic, botanical effect. The refinement supplied by the Refine Mask feature allows the leaves to gracefully manifest around the letter edges, providing some transparency and detail. He follows up this relatively simple procedure with some key layer effects (Drop Shadow and Inner Glow) and voila, leafy letters! It’s a quick, easy technique that has an abundance of potential uses.
It’s good to keep in mind that you don’t have to use text for your mask—really, any shape outline will do.
If you’d like to go full topiary, Deke also has a member-exclusive tutorial this week called Creating topiary type, where he explains how to create the full grown from the ground look. All you need is a photo featuring some nicely textured plant life, and your Photoshop garden can grow to whatever shape you desire. Since Deke is lounging in Hawaii this week, I decided to use this technique to create the tropical topiary you see below. Applying the technique to a different set of files only required a few adjustments in the Refine Edge panel and a slightly different green for the Inner Glow layer style.
Deke will return from his island sojourn with another free technique next week.
If you, like Deke, recoil at the sight of badly kerned text, then this week’s type-geek technique is just for you. Sure, adjusting the spacing between full-fledged characters is fairly straightforward in Photoshop: Click in between two characters with the type tool and use the Alt (or Option) key in combination with the right and left arrow keys as needed. Simple, intuitive, effective. But what about the percentage symbol, for instance? It’s actually made up of three sub-characters (a small superscript zero, a fraction-slash, and a small baseline zero). Figuring how to kern between those three components is just the kind of challenge Deke likes to take apart. And taking apart the percent character is the key to this technique.
So imagine that you have this ’100%’ text (against a background of 100% wood-free wood Deke created in last week’s free episode). It’s easy enough to kern the number characters closer together, but when you do, the percent symbol looks oddly loose, as you can see indicated by the cyan circle below. The percentage symbol uses about twice the space as the other characters. Also, the fraction character (the slash) is extending beyond the top and bottom of the respective small zeros, as indicated by the magenta lines below.
By changing the text to outlines, separating out the paths of the component pieces of the symbol, and adjusting them, Deke was able to create this much more aesthetically pleasing version:
Every week there is a new free technique from Deke, in which you get to benefit from Deke’s obsessions as well as his creativity and Photoshop and Illustrator experience. Members of the lynda.com Online Training Library® also have access to additional exclusive techniques. In fact, this week Deke will show you how to take this painstakingly kerned text and emboss it into the wood background.
Are there similar detail-level design problems that vex you into the wee hours? What are your typographic pet peeves?
Since January 2008, the documentary team at lynda.com has brought you into the lives of exemplary creative professionals to afford you a unique opportunity to learn and be inspired by their wisdom and experience. After nearly three years and 23 guests in the Creative Inspirations series, we’re embarking on a new, richer approach to the series and we can’t wait to share it with you!
Until now, we’ve presented short, focused movies covering a broad spectrum of topics that help give insight into the workspace, projects, story, and philosophies of the guests we’ve featured. We’ve now shifted our approach to focus on telling unique stories in a more in-depth and personal way. Our goal is to present a cohesive story that flows from beginning to end with an engaging narrative story—a compelling view into the lives of creative individuals that tell you, in their own words, how and why they became who they are. This allows us to present a complete view of our subjects and allows you to experience it the same way you would as if you’re watching documentary film. For ease of viewing online, we are offering two ways to view the documentary: all together as one piece or as smaller sections (like DVD chapters).
Today, we are releasing our first documentary in this new format: Doyald Young, Logotype Designer. From humble beginnings in a small Texas town eight decades ago, Young shares his story, which is as elegant as his script fonts and as wise as his set of Oxford English dictionaries. Enjoy a window into the life of this accomplished artisan as he works with joyous focus in his favorite spot, his drawing table, and follow Young to Art Center College of Design in Pasadena where he shares his talents with tomorrow’s designers. Young recalls the hundreds of iterations he went through in creating the logo for Prudential, and he puts pencil to tissue creating the pages for his next book about script lettering, Learning Curves.
We have greatly appreciated the feedback you’ve generously offered about Creative Inspirations and we look forward to hearing from you more as we evolve this new approach. We will continue to offer you wonderful stories and imagery that educate, entertain and most of all, inspire.
Staff editor/cinematographer Tracy Clark on location at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena shooting for our Creative Inspirations documentary about Doyald Young. Doyald is reviewing an assignment with one of his typography students.
Creative Inspirations series director Scott Erickson reviews his next shot with Doyald Young at his home workspace. Cinematographer and digital lead Ben Nilsson looks on.
In the Art Center classroom, Scott chats with Doyald between shots. Ben and Tracy discuss camera settings in the background.
Scott sets up our Canon 7D DSLR mounted with a Canon 24-70mm f2.8, shooting at 24fps to capture Doyald working at his favorite place—his drawing board.