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Master Text

  • star.jpg ACA Objective 3.2
  • star.jpg ACA Objective 3.3
  • star.jpg ACA Objective 4.8

You’ll now focus on text. Most beginning designers overlook this detail, but it’s absolutely critical for excellence in design. Even people who don’t know about design have a subconscious awareness of the unity and elegance of well-placed type in a composition. Though they might not be able to say why one design looks better than another, they will be able to identify which design is better. A good designer knows this and takes the extra 15 minutes that might be needed to properly tweak the text.

Design with Type

You learned the basics of adding text in an earlier chapter, so let’s dig a little deeper and really start to design the text. You will be moving past basic, one-line text entries to explore the spacing and alignment options available within multiline text. Doing so opens a few other typographical options that will help express the feeling of your design.

To create multiline text:

  1. When you add text, it is placed on a layer. To indicate where you want this layer to go, select the layer that will be immediately below the text layer. For this exercise, select the top layer.
  2. Select the Type tool texttool.jpg.
  3. Click on the document where you want to enter the text. A text insert point appears where you click.
  4. In the Options bar, select Myriad Pro Regular, 30 pt, and centered, white text (Figure 4.15).

    Figure 4.15

    Figure 4.15 Setting type formatting in the Options bar

  5. On the document, enter Gasoline. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS), then enter Heart. Note that Photoshop shows the baseline of the text as you enter it.
  6. Click Commit in the Options bar optioncommit.jpg to place the text on the document.

    The text layer is created and the baseline is hidden (Figure 4.16).

    Figure 4.16

    Figure 4.16 The default settings for text are not suitable for every design. A good designer learns when to adjust the settings for a better composition.

Tweak Character Settings

  • star.jpg ACA Objective 2.3

Beginning designers will enter the text and be done with it, but good designers pay attention to typography. Three terms that every designer needs to know about text are tracking, kerning, and leading.

  • Tracking adjusts the space between all characters in the selected text.

  • Kerning adjusts the space between two characters.
  • Leading (rhymes with “heading”) adjusts the space between lines.

Settings are also available for horizontal scaling and vertical scaling, which stretch the type in the direction indicated.

To work with the character settings:

  1. Start by selecting the text with the Type tool to fine-tune it. On the text layer, select the word “Heart.”
  2. To improve the look of the text, make the following changes in the Character panel:

    Enter 30 pt for Leading to reduce the space between lines.

    Enter 150 for Horizontal Scale to increase the width of the text (Figure 4.17).

    Figure 4.17

    Figure 4.17 Fine-tuning character formatting in the Character panel

  3. Click Commit in the Options bar optioncommit.jpg to save the modifications to the text (Figure 4.18).

    Figure 4.18

    Figure 4.18 The text appears much more unified and stronger with the tweaked settings. Typography matters!

As you can see, making these few minor changes really improved the title section of this flyer. Taking the time to design your text will always pay off. Poor typography and weak design screams “newbie!” and you don’t want to convey that feeling to your client. Not only does it diminish the client’s confidence in your work, but it weakens your portfolio.

Add Event Information

Your next steps are to add the remaining event information to the flyer. Try entering all the text in one text block, and then use the character settings to design it to resemble the figure. You will next add the venue name to the flyer in a vertical text layer.

  1. Use the Type tool to add the following event information to the flyer, each on it’s own line:


    $5 Doors

    726 Peachpit Street

    Roof Access with Event Pass

  2. Use the Options bar and other techniques you’ve learned to format the text as shown (Figure 4.19).

    Figure 4.19

    Figure 4.19 The formatted event information added to the poster

  3. If your character settings get out of control, you can easily reset them to their default values by choosing Reset Character from the Character panel menu (Figure 4.20).

    Figure 4.20

    Figure 4.20 Selecting Reset Character from the Character panel menu to revert character settings to the defaults

Align Layers

Because all the text you just added is on different layers, you cannot use text alignment tools to line them all up. However, you can easily align multiple layers in a document using the Move tool.

  1. From the Tools panel, choose the Move tool movetool.jpg, or press V.
  2. Select any layer that you want to align, and then Ctrl-click any other layers that you want to add to the layer selection (Command-click in Mac OS).
  3. In the Move Options bar, select the alignment you want to use (Figure 4.21).

    Figure 4.21

    Figure 4.21 The alignment options of the Move Options bar

    Align the right edges.

You can apply these alignment options to any combination of layers, including layers of different types. These tools can speed up design work and help you more easily line up elements in a composition.

Add Vertical Text

You can create a vertical text effect in two ways: rotate the text 90 degrees or use the Vertical Type tool, which stacks the characters on the text layer.

The after-party venue’s sign is from the 1950s, and it’s easily visible from the street. To help people find the venue, the client wants to use a similar slightly wide slab serif typeface with vertical stacking.

To do this, you will add a vertical text layer:

  1. In the Tools panel, click and hold the Type tool to display a menu of hidden tools. Select the Vertical Type tool typetoolvertical.jpg (Figure 4.22).

    Figure 4.22

    Figure 4.22 Selecting the Vertical Type tool, which is hidden under the Type tool

  2. Click where you want to add the text and enter THE VENUE. The text appears vertically on your document.
  3. Select the text and use the Character panel to format it as follows (Figure 4.23):

    Font: Rockwell Bold (or a similar slab serif typeface)

    Size: 36 pt

    Fill: White

    Horizontal Scale: 150%

    Figure 4.23

    Figure 4.23 Using the Character panel to format the vertical text

  4. Click Commit in the Options bar optioncommit.jpg to create the vertical text layer and place the text on the page (Figure 4.24).

    Figure 4.24

    Figure 4.24 The poster with the venue name on a vertical text layer

Now that all of the text is entered for the poster, you need to take a very important artistic step that is often ignored by beginning designers, but stands as an essential part of good design. You need to look at your image.

Looking at the image as an artist is different from looking at it as a technician or computer user. Yes, you can see that all of the information is in there, but what could be fixed, tweaked, or perfected? What’s wrong with the image that gets in the way of its message?

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