Posts tagged ‘fonts’
Most everyone knows you can download awesome free fonts at Dafont.com, but it’s got some other features you may be missing out on. Here’s a list of some cool things you can do at Dafont besides downloading:
1. Preview fonts with your own text
2. Customize the size of the text and number of fonts per page
3. View different cases of your preview text
4. View/download a character key
5. View all the variants of a font
6. Filter for commercial use OK fonts
7. Find fonts by the same designer
8. Find fonts in the same category
9. Browse fonts by category
10. Browse fonts by designer
11. Filter for foreign features
12. Create your own categories
13. Learn how to install fonts
14. Get help identifying a font
15. See the newest uploads
16. Sort by popularity, name or date
Take a look at my Robots category for an example.
There’s an exciting development in the type design world and that is that a few designers are starting to fully map their OTF fonts to Unicode so that they are more accessible to those without Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, and expensive design software that has been required in the past.
Laura Worthington is not only one of our favorite type designers as diecutters, but she has taken the lead on this. Her information on accessing all the special characters in her fonts with Windows is here. I took this a step further with a video on how to use her fonts in Silhouette Studio for Windows.
Update: I already made this video twice, but I keep finding mistakes and things I should have added as I explore this topic more and answer your questions. Please note the following
The prerequisites (shown and discussed at the beginning and end of the video) should be:
-Any Windows version of Silhouette Studio (even V2 standard, contrary to what I say in the video)
-Fonts coded for Character Map (or fully mapped to Unicode)
-Desktop font purchased, OTF version installed
On the Mac side, some of my earlier techniques are no longer working because the necessary web app has been discontinued. The method Laura recommends does work with Silhouette Studio but, like mine referenced above, is also quite contorted. My research has led me to believe that the best solution for MacOS 10.8 (or 10.9 with Silh Studio basic) is a $9.95 app called Ultra Character Map, but since it only runs on Mac OS 10.8 or better, I haven’t been able to test it myself yet.
If you run MacOS 10.9, I’ve just discovered a new free solution. Drag and drop characters from Font Book’s Repertoire view into a Text Edit document. Then copy that from Text Edit into Silh Studio DE with an active text cursor.
Another Mac option is Inkscape. In Inkscape you can enter Unicode values into a text cox directly by typing Cntr-U first then the code. So you would use Font Book Repertoire view and hover over the character you want to determine the Unicode value, then type it into Inkscape. When you are done, convert text to path (Path>Object to Path) and then save as SVG for import into SSDE or as DXF for import into SS basic edition.
UPDATE: Gioviale by Laura Worthington is on sale right now at Mighty Deals.
So far the only other fonts I have found that are fully mapped are from Yellow Design Studio. You may know them from the beautiful Melany Lane font. (They also designed Thirsty Script but as far as I know it is not fully mapped)
Here’s a freebie you can try out: Gist Upright
A while back, I posted Character Map templates for Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator. The purpose of these is to make it quick and easy to make a one page reference map of the main glyphs in a given font, especially dingbat fonts. Today I’m adding a Silhouette version to the lineup.
You can download the .studio template here, download the .studio3 template here and instructions are in the margin of the file, but here’s a quick rundown. As with all my templates, I recommend you store them on your hard drive instead of your library and that you always work from a duplicate. An easy way to do this is to Save as and rename the file as soon as you open it.
Once you’ve opened a duplicate template, click anywhere in the middle of the page. You’ll see a bounding box to indicate that the grid is selected. Click the A button at the top of the screen (not the A button on the side of the screen).
Select the font you want to map from the scrolling list on the right. You should see the characters change to the new font’s. Label the page by typing in the name of the font into the text box provided at the top of the page. This is optional, but will help you remember which font you are looking at.
Here’s what a completed page looks like for my 09kutups font.
You can print the page, print it to PDF or just glance at it temporarily for reference. If you want to be able to use the characters after you uninstall the font, click the center of the page again to select the characters, choose Object>Convert to Path, then save the file.
And if you want some suggestions for great dingbats for cutting, here’s a great place to start. Ten Great Dingbats for Diecutting
What you need:
heat transfer vinyl with mylar backing (I’m using Siser Easy Weed)
a cutting board or other hard surface you don’t mind damaging
a new or clean Ped-Egg
optionally, a new cheese grater like the one pictured from Dollar Tree
Cut and weed your HTV as usual. It’s a good idea to practice with scraps so grab some of that HTV you forgot to mirror!
Place it on your surface sticky side up and begin to scrape across it with the Ped-Egg. The goal is to cut through the vinyl layer without lifting it, and to do minimum damage to the mylar. Start slowly and lightly and increase your pressure until you get it right.
It helps to extend it over the edge of your cutting surface for better contact with the cutting teeth.
After a bit, brush the excess away from your design onto the surrounding sticky area and see what your design looks like from the mylar side. Continue with several more cycles until you reach the desired level of distress.
Inspect the vinyl surface and remove or tamp down any larger flaps or tears that would hinder the vinyl from laying flat.
Press as usual or a little shorter on time, then remove the backing and repress with just the teflon sheet for a few seconds to be sure all the vinyl is secure.
Because the teeth on the Ped-Egg are small, it produces small scale distress (the letters above are 1 inch tall). For larger scale images, try the large round holes on the Dollar Tree cheese grater. This will result in more flaps and damage to the vinyl and backing, but you can use the Ped-Egg in a subsequent pass to help clean it up.
IMPORTANT: Let me emphasize that this is experimental. This technique obviously does not allow for optimal adhesion of the vinyl across 100% of its surface and especially along the distressed edges. Some of the tiny pieces will not adhere at all because they will be upside down. I do not have long term wear or laundering experience with this. Use this technique at your own risk. And of course, use appropriate caution when handling sharp objects.
If you’ve only been using “text to path” in Silhouette Studio to curve words into a circle, then you have barely scratched the surface of what this fun feature can do. Here’s a video that will start with the basics and move on to the techniques that will make you a power user.
And be sure to grab Border Bits, the font I demo in the video, here.
Here’s a list of 10 more cursive fonts that cut and weld wonderfully, and, as you can see, they look great as well. Download at the links below the graphic.
Free dingbat fonts are a great source of images to use with your diecutter, but how do you know which ones cut nicely? I’ve done the trial and error for you on these ten fonts that are perfect for diecutting. Links are listed below the graphic.