September 26, 2005

Your type can look better

As things get easier and faster, do they have to get crummier? No, but if we’re not careful, it’s easy to sacrifice depth and craft for breadth.
Ten years ago, print designers couldn’t understand why I couldn’t replicate their leading and kerning in HTML. Ten years later, I wonder how many designers bother to kern at all.
But beyond resurrecting these fundamentals, new technology lets us do better. OpenType technology allows for much richer character sets, and numerous faces in the Adobe Type Library support this new functionality. Access to alternate characters can help put an end to the kind of blunder I saw in a national magazine several weeks back, where supposedly handwritten parchment featured three identical “g”‘s in a single word.
To see the benefits in action, check out this tutorial from Russell Brown, and this one from Deke McClelland.
(On related fronts, the new Flash Player features much improved text display. Also, Typetester is a little online utility for comparing screen fonts [link via Newsight]. And Linotype has released FontExplorer X, with an iTunes-like ability to organize, preview, and purchase fonts.)

Posted by John Nack at 12:54 PM on September 26, 2005

Comments

  • doug — 3:41 PM on September 27, 2005

    Speaking of type, when will we see style sheets in Photoshop?

  • John Nack — 3:48 PM on September 27, 2005

    When you say “style sheets,” are you referring to Cascading Style Sheets or to the ability to save and apply type styles a la Illustrator and InDesign? Neither feature has been a big priority thus far, but we’re interested in hearing your feedback.
    Regarding CSS, we’ve found that Web designers tend to generate images using Photoshop and/or ImageReady, but to dump the HTML and JavaScript we generate & rebuild it in their HTML editor of choice.
    Regarding AI/ID style sheets, Photoshop isn’t as type-intensive as the other apps. We have made a couple of enhancements in recent revs, though, which should help:
    — In CS2, you can select multiple layers at once and change their type characteristics simultaneously.
    — In PS7 and later, you can save a tool preset for the Type tool. That way you can very quickly set up the tool with whatever characteristics you want (e.g. for a Web link, maybe Times New Roman set to blue, no anti-aliasing, with an underline).

  • doug — 11:02 AM on September 28, 2005

    Yep, I’m referring to InDesignesque style sheets. Whenever I’m doing any Web page layout in Photoshop I get seriously hampered by the type capabilities, especially if I have different type specs within the same text box. Style sheets would make the process much more efficient…just something to put on the radar.

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