Posts tagged ‘fonts’
I have a number of exciting announcements coming in the next few weeks, and I’m happy to share the first of them with you today. Some of you know that I love font and graphics bundles, but that I have been frustrated that because most of them are geared towards graphic designers, they don’t serve the needs of crafters as well as they could. As a result, I spend a lot of time troubleshooting with you, which I don’t mind. But what I do mind, is when the product you purchased wasn’t really a good fit and you aren’t able to fully enjoy it because of your software and/or skill level.
I’ve been working behind the scenes with a number of font designers and bundlers for a couple of years now to get fonts to be more crafter friendly in general, and to get bundle items explained more clearly. Progress has been slow, but steady. Recently, however, I was approached by Roemie Hillenaar of Revolge.com and LittleBigBundle.com with a great solution… What if we had a bundle site just for crafters, and made sure that everything there was vetted to meet the needs of the crafting community? And what if Kay, one of the most picky sticklers around, got to curate some bundles herself, just for diecutters? Given the amount of time I already pore over fonts and graphics on your behalf, and given what I’ve seen of Roemie’s projects so far, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. So if you are looking for bundles without caveats, I hope you’ll check with Little Big Crafter and look for the Curated by Kay label.
LittleBigCrafter has just gone live, along with the first Curated by Kay Bundle! I think you are going to love this yummy word art and split monogram bundle from the very talented Nutsy+Me.
The Hungry JPEG has released a new bundle of 12 crafter friendly fonts specially coded to work with Character Map/Font Book. That means you can get to all the swooshes and swirls with software built in to your machine. Use code Silhouette20 to get an extra 20% off. See this post about a similarly coded font, Samantha, for FAQs and tutorials.
I want to share a quick Mac tip on how to install a bunch of fonts quickly, even when they are in different subfolders. This comes in handy when you purchase a font bundle, for instance. It’s really much quicker to do than to explain. I put together a 3 minute video, as well as written steps for those of you who prefer that. Of course this same process of using the Mac’s smart Finder windows is handy for lots of other sifting tasks as well, and once you get the hang of it, you will use it all the time.
1. Locate the bundle folder, usually in your Downloads folder. If it is zipped, double click on it and it will unzip automatically.
2. Double click to open the bundle folder and you will see a bunch of other folders.
3. Type the letters “otf” into the search bar and select Postscript OpenType font from the menu that drops down. (I install OTF as a rule of thumb, but you can use TTF if you prefer.)
4. Click the name of the folder in the Search header.
5. Select any one font name, then type command-A to Select All. Tip: You can select individual fonts and preview them by pressing the space bar. If you don’t want to install all the fonts, you can command-click to select just the ones you want.
6. Open the Font Book application (its built in to your Mac, type Font Book in the Spotlight Search bar to find it quickly) and (optional) make a new Collection by clicking the plus button at the bottom left.
7. Bring the Finder window back to the front, or side by side, and drag and drop the selected fonts into the Collection of your choice or onto “All Fonts” at the top.
8. When you let go, a verification window may appear asking for your password. If so, enter it and click OK. Your fonts will be available to preview in Font Book under All Fonts or by clicking the collection you installed them into. They will also be available to all of your software applications the next time you open them.
Want some bundles to install?
The Sweet Type bundle is covered in this post and there’s another crafter friendly font bundle covered here and yet another holiday bundle reviewed here.
You’ve been hearing a lot about font bundles here lately, because that is what I am getting the most questions about. I’m pretty particular about what I consider to be “crafter friendly,” which is why I don’t recommend all of the bundles that come along. I was privileged to work a little with type designer Emily Spadoni of Sweet Type early on as she and the craft community discovered each other, and it has been a blast watching her soar in popularity!
Emily’s approach is to break her fonts down into “sub-fonts” so that all you need is the keys on your keyboard to get to all the goods. For instance, her beautiful font, Secret Garden, is actually a set of 5 font files. Getting a custom look is as simple as choosing a different font for the first (secret garden Alt Left) and last letter (secret garden Alt Right) and one or more letters in between (secret garden Alt 1 or Alt 2). Here’s a screen shot of what that looks like in Silhouette Studio. In Cricut Design Space you will need separate text blocks for each font.
Right now there’s a Sweet Type bundle deal going on over at revolge with 12 text fonts, 2 floral dingbat fonts and lots and lots of easy to access swirly extras. Commercial rights are included so you can use these fonts on items you sell.
If you just want to try out some of these, as well as others from Sweet Type (for personal use and without the extras), check out Emily’s section on Dafont.com
Disclosure: The above post contains affiliate links. I did receive this bundle for free, but I was already a satisfied customer, having purchased a number of Sweet Type fonts in the past.
There’s still time for this font bundle with oodles of bonus holiday graphics, too.
Several years ago, the gift packaging project pictured below was posted on Martha Stewart’s site.
It’s no longer there, but it continues to live on via Pinterest and gets circulated in the various craft groups every so often. When it first appeared, I started working on a font to make it easy to create these stand up letters with a digital diecutter. Soon, however, new features like the eraser tool were added to our diecutting software that made a specialty font unnecessary. But now that Cricut Design Space has hit the scene, I’m dusting off some old resources that can be really useful given its limited feature set. And this one is a time saver no matter which software you use.
So meet the font that I’m calling Top College (because it is a college style slab serif with its bottom missing)…
Download Top College here (If you like it, I’d appreciate a pin, a tweet or a mention in your favorite diecutting group)
To use Top College in your diecutting software, simply type. All of the letters are upper case, but when you use upper case on your keyboard, you get letters with score marks and when you use lower case on your keyboard the letters will appear without score marks. This way you can decide which works best for your project. To use, simply type. If you want the letters to stand up from the top of a downward folded card, be sure to position the base of the text so that it rests on the vertical center line of your card as shown here.
I should mention that this font has very thin lines that will seem to disappear in pull down menus, so you may have to locate it by typing into the search box instead of scrolling.
And because no one likes single layer text (and Top College font can’t be offset properly), I designed it to work as a background/mat/shadow for a thinner font called CollegiateInsideFLF. The companion font is widely available online but I’m including it in the download package for your convenience. Be sure to type in all caps when using CollegiateInsideFLF. You will have to isolate letters and use the arrow keys to correct the spacing in Cricut Design Space, but it will line up perfectly in other programs as long as the font size and character spacing settings are the same as the Top College layer.
Here are some samples I put together to show you how Top College works with and without CollegiateInsideFLF. At the back is the corner of what I envision as a placemat, with the stand up portion used as the shadow for the blue letters cut from the companion font. In front is a ribbon that I split and inserted the strip of cut letters through. (This allows you to have a ribbon that is longer than your paper.) And my favorite is the black placecard, made by drawing the companion font with a sketch fill using a metallic pen in Silhouette Studio, and then cutting the unscored version of Top College from the center of the card. I can’t wait to see your projects.
Here’s a video where I show how to use Top College in Cricut Design Space and Silhouette Studio.
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.
Samantha by Laura Worthington on sale right now at Mighty Deals!
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
Update: For those of you having trouble seeing the characters in Windows Character Map, the free utility Nexus Font also has a Character Map that makes viewing easier. Written tutorial from Paper Moon Snippets here.
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.
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.
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 of theirs you can try out: Gist Upright
Update: Fonts by Debi Sementelli are also fully mapped. Debi is the designer of the fabulous Cantoni font!
Be sure to thank these designers for mapping their fonts and tell them that CleverSomeday sent you.