A Beginner's Guide To Typefaces

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bortonia
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Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:20PM
Typefaces for beginners

Just because a font is free for commercial use it doesn't mean it's automatically going to look fantastic in your illustration. Choosing the right typeface is critical because it can so easily ruin an otherwise great submission.

Make yourself familiar with common type styles, learn their histories, see how they've been used before. Don't settle on the first typeface you choose: Experiment with multiple styles and fonts until you find the one that works best.

Above all: If you're not sure what to use, then you might want to consider submitting simple, classic, tried and true typefaces until you've educated yourself on fonts. Here are some good beginner resources for typeface selection:

5 Tips for Choosing a Font: A great list of all the things you should take into consideration when choosing a typeface for your design

Typographic: An excellent interactive site geared towards all things type, from the history of typography to the anatomy of a typeface

Typedia: Anatomy of a Typeface: Read about the actual bits and pieces that make up a typeface design (and yes, they all have names!)

Most Hated Fonts: A cheeky look at fonts that probably land on most designer's 'most hated' lists (Comic Sans, anyone?)

D-hub: A Short History of Typography: A short, but incredibly comprehensive history of type design throughout the ages

Non-Typographer's Guide To Practical Typeface Selection: An excellent guide to choosing the appropriate typeface for your design

Choosing the Right Font: A short and sweet guide to choosing the best font you can

An Introduction to Type: A great reference guide that explains everything from special characters to ligatures.

Typetalk's Kerning Principles: If you have no idea what kerning is, then you really, REALLY need to read this. Nothing says 'amateurish' faster than a poorly kerned design!

Know Your Type: A great introduction to choosing the proper typeface for your project.

Common typeface mistakes

• Historical Mismatches: Using an old fashioned font with a modern graphic generally doesn't work well, and vice versa. Do your research to ensure your typeface suits the historical period of your illustration.

• Sizing: Making the text too big or too small in relation to your illustration can look terrible. Check to make sure your text is not too small to read, and that it's not completely overwhelming your composition. Also, remember decorative typefaces and text styles can make your text very hard to read.

• Kerning: The space between each letter is important and should be consistent. Never heard of kerning? Then you really (REALLY) need to do some homework before diving into incorporating fonts into your illustrations. Nothing screams 'amateur' as fast as a poorly kerned text. Kerning only takes a minute and can make a huge different in the presentation of your illustration.

• Placement: You need to think about where to place your text within your illustration. Plopping it in at random rarely works. Follow the basic rules of composition and ensure you're striking a good balance between the text and your illustration.

• Weight and Style: Using a very fat font along with a delicate and airy illustration style can look terrible. Using all caps is very formal and stern and might not be appropriate for a whimsical and childlike illustration. Font style and weight are key to finding the right balance.

• Look and Feel: Think about what you are trying to 'say' with your choice of typeface. Is your illustration feminine and romantic? Then choose a delicate script font. Is your illustration silly and childlike? Then your font should be whimsical and fun. A well chosen font adds a lot of character to your design and can really enhance its tone of voice!

Reviewing Font Licenses

Please make sure you're taking the time to review your font's license carefully. Yes, licenses are long and hard to read, but you really do need to be careful when using someone else's font in your designs.

Things to look for: Any restrictions on the end usage of the font (because our purchase agreement might not have the same end-use restrictions), licenses that only permit 'personal' usage (iStock would be considered a 'commercial' usage since you're reselling the design), and any restrictions on modification of the font (because our license agreement allows modification of a file after purchase).

iStock's Font Usage Policy

Notwithstanding Section 4(b) of the Artist Supply Agreement, iStockphoto permits the use of fonts and typefaces in Content for which you do not own the copyright only where you have acquired the necessary rights, in writing, to use such font or typeface as part of the Content. Where you do not own the copyright to the fonts or typeface used in the Content, by uploading the Content you are representing and warranting that you are the authorized licensee to the applicable font or typeface and that you have obtained a valid and binding license to use the font and/or typeface from all required parties as part of the Content for all permitted licenses by iStockphoto pursuant hereto, including but not limited to commercial use.

(Edited on 2012-08-23 15:03:33 by bortonia)
bortonia
Member is a Silver contributor and has 2,500 - 9,999 Photo downloadsMember is a Bronze contributor and has 250 - 2,499 Flash downloadsMember is a Diamond contributor and has 25,000 - 199,999 Illustration downloadsExclusiveExclusive iStockphoto IllustratorExclusive iStockphoto Flash ArtistMember has had a File Of The WeekThis member has lost their last cage match. Consider this the black eye the bully gave you after school by the bike racks.This user has the power to wield the BanHammer, a weapon forged in the fires of hell for that get-off-my-planet quality you can't get anywhere else. You betta reckonize.This member can always be counted on to be amongst the last iStockers standing in the wee hours whenever or wherever we gather. So follow him and be assured of a good time.
Posted Tue Aug 21, 2012 2:20PM
We've also moved all font-related discussions out of the old Logo forum and into the Illustration forum for your reference. One good discussion was this logo thread, which you may want to read if you're unfamiliar with font licenses. Please note that some of the topics in this thread would only have applied to logo submissions, not vectors (such as where to include font names, etc).

(Edited on 2012-08-23 12:28:12 by bortonia)
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