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Dash of Inspiration – A Fountain of Fonts

June 4, 2012

A Dash of Inspiration, A Cup of Creativity by Doreen

A Fountain of Fonts

I think the most difficult area for me when I first started designing cards at GCU was the Typography.  I must have gone back and reworked the text on some of my early designs three or four times over the years as my knowledge of  placement, legibility and font-base grew.

I went through a phase where I thought beveled text was cool!   It’s not in most cases – one exception is when the design will support a ‘gold, silver or diamond’ look to the text, in which case when well executed beveled text can give the right amount of shine to accomplish the look.

Next I experimented with what I call my ‘deep shadow period’ where I added large deep shadowing behind all my text thinking it helped standout – Wrong Again!  This type of shadowing on text when printed can make the text blurry and muddy looking.  So back to the drawing board to fix my text shadowing; keeping it softer, smaller and in some cases crisper or removing the shadow entirely.

Ahhh and then I found the ‘glow effect’ – ouch!  Though this effect is very useful with text, I learned that it requires a skilled and knowledgeable touch to actually get professional and pleasing results.  Having large bright glowing text was just not getting sales.  So once again I was off to study and practice more professional techniques to make this glow effect work to my advantage instead of stand out like a sore thumb!

My last lesson was a better understanding of text placement and off I went to improve the layout of the text on many of my old cards.  I had literally stuck the text wherever it would fit and that is not a professional designer’s method of card design.  The text is an element, sometimes the most important element, and placing it across the main subject and/or stuffing it wherever there was room with complete disregard for the overall balance of the card design . . . well, those were very unprofessional techniques I needed to overcome!  I probably still have a few oldies out there that I haven’t caught up to yet, but I’m working on it!

Of course the first step in improving your own typography is to have a solid selection of Fonts that are legible, professional looking and appealing.  For those of you looking to add to your Font collections, here are some links you will find helpful.  The key is you must READ the license.  If you are at a ‘font site’ that does not tell you anything about the TOU for the font, then don’t trust the site.

Look for Freeware. In most but not all cases these are fonts that can be used for your commercial use projects. Look at the details added by the font designer to make sure there are no restrictions for CU.   Sometimes, you will need to download the free font and read the License that accompanies the font in order to know if you can use it in card designs.

For any of you that missed them, there have been more discussions on this blog about Fonts and Text so here are the links:

Nuts & Bolts: Typography

Dash of Inspiration: Typography Speaks

Nuts & Bolts: Front of Card Text

Font Squirrel’s Favorite Commercial Use Free Fonts

DafontShows on the right side those which you can check TOU for CU

Fontex.org Their List of the Best Free Fonts

14 Favourite Free Fonts (For Commercial Use) by Jahfer

One of my 1st cards and the text on the outside was reworked 3x’s before this version, which now sells.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2012 12:29 pm

    Thank you for another timely article. This is an area I’ve been trying to master.

    • June 4, 2012 2:11 pm

      You are welcome Tracie! It’s one of those areas where you just have to constantly improve and as you do, re-evaluate what you’ve done in the past . . . being willing to go back and improve old cards is IMO key to the learning experience. At least it was for me 🙂

  2. June 6, 2012 9:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing Doreen,
    I agree with Tracie, always trying to master this area.
    Thank you for letting us learn from your mistakes as to what looks best and where. Utilizing all the helpful information you ladies provide here, I am much happier with the looks of my revamped cards along with other cards here at GCU!
    We all deserve a Big Woo Hooo!

    • June 6, 2012 9:51 pm

      Hi Janet,
      You are very welcome! I’m really glad you are finding both help and inspiration here – it makes me smile and here’s a Big Woo Hooo for your efforts to revamp your cards!

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