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Good typography can add tremendous power to your design and your message, whether it is a print- or screen-based project, a still or motion graphic, a 3D or 2D graphic. This course explains good typographic practices, so that you can develop an "eye" for type and understand how to effectively use it. Author Ina Saltz explains type classifications (serif vs. sans serif, display type vs. text type), how type is measured, sized, and organized, and how spacing and alignment affect your design. She also explains how to use kerning, tracking, leading, and line length, and covers the history and current trends in typography. The course teaches the principles of legibility, readability, and compatibility, and how they should be considered when you're selecting and designing with type.
When type was physical, managing fonts meant keeping them in the proper drawer. Now we live in a vast world of digital fonts, close to 200,000 of them, so managing your fonts is a necessity. Keeping your fonts organized with font management software will give you peace of mind. It's like having a tidy closet. Font Management Software is used for installing, activating, searching, comparing, and organizing fonts. Besides keeping you organized, font management offers some technical advantages.
Most important, it allows for activation of a font only when it's actually being used. This frees up computing resources, so your system can function more efficiently. Most computer platforms provide some basic form of font management. But it's usually not enough for professional designers who regularly use hundreds or thousands of fonts. So Font Management Software is worth the relatively small investment. There are a number of good programs which can work well for you. In the exercise files for this course, I've included a list of Font Management Software.
I recommend that you check it out. So now that we've talked about managing the fonts you already have, how should you add to your collection? A good way to start is to make sure you include key examples from the main categories we covered earlier. Bear in mind that more is not always better. A carefully chosen selection of well designed typefaces will serve your needs far better than a huge library of inferior fonts. That said, there are many sources where you can search for fonts online.
The biggest of these is myfonts.com which aggregates fonts from many small type foundries as well as larger foundries. At myfonts.com there are easy to understand categories and keywords that will help narrow down your search. You never know what will work for your next project. I keep tear sheets for magazines, make screen caps from websites, and gather images of type on Pinterest of examples that interest me. That way when I'm planning a project, I can start my search for the right type by looking at things that have already caught my eye.
There are several ways to find the source of the typeface from your inspirational examples. The best sources online are Identifont, WhaTheFont, and the excellent forums on typophile.com. If you're looking for what's new and interesting in the font world, I also recommend signing up for the free newsletters that many foundries provide to showcase their new offerings. Speaking of free, it's surprising how many free fonts are available. There are some good free fonts out there, but a word of caution.
You usually get what you pay for. It takes a major investment of time and skill to design a professional quality text face, so you will rarely find them for free. That's what you'll need to know to get started with building and managing your font library. I love looking at type, and I can get lost for hours browsing font collections from different foundries. It can be addictive. Happy hunting, and I hope you enjoy building your type collection as much as I do.
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