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In this installment of Illustrator Insider Training, author Mordy Golding shows how to create type that’s both beautiful and communicative, whether it’s destined for logos, brochures, signs, infographics, or simple documents. This course covers core typography concepts, such as working with Unicode and OpenType fonts, applying character and paragraph settings, managing text with styles and text threads, placing text along a path, and wrapping text around graphics.
We already know that when working with text we have the ability to scale that text. We can increase the point size or we can reduce the point size. However, there is another kind of scaling that also applies specifically to text, something called vertical scaling and horizontal scaling. And you can actually see those settings here inside of the Character panel. And if you don't have these settings inside of your Character panel, you may not be looking at the fully expanded version of the panel. If you go to where it says Character here and you see these little arrows that appear on the left side, you can click on those to toggle between different various states of the Character panel.
So in its fully expanded state, you will see these values there for Horizontal Scale and Vertical Scale. Now initially, these settings were used to try to get fonts to fit into areas that maybe they didn't fit into. Like maybe have a very, very narrow space and I want this word "Perfect for," to fit into that very narrow space, and I want it to be a large point size so that people can see it, but it's maybe too wide. So what I might do is come here to the Horizontal Scaling and change that to like maybe 70%. And if I do that, you can now see I have like almost like a condensed version of that typeface here.
Now, be aware that if a type designer ever saw you do that, they might cringe in horror. I mean after all, one of the main reasons why type designers create condensed and extended versions of typefaces is because if you go ahead and apply the scaling here, it's scales the entire letterform, which can distort it. And it really does not make for some nice characters, especially in some beautiful fonts. However, this is a great excuse just in case you don't have a condensed or an extended version of a typeface, of yif ou want to make a small adjustment to get it to fit somewhere, like 98% where no one else really can see the difference.
However, you might avoid using it in this way. Let me press undo for a second. One thing that I do find a lot of use for when working with horizontal and vertical scaling is when you have certain characters that maybe aren't letters themselves. Take a look at this bullet list over here where it says Birthdays, Anniversaries, Graduations, and Get Well Soon. The character that's been used over here is a bullet character, which is just a little round dot. I am actually going to double-click here and just highlight that little bullet character. By the way, if you are not familiar with adding a bullet character to your document, on a Mac you would choose Option+8 to get a bullet character, and on Windows that will Alt+8.
And of course, you could always just simply take your blinking cursor at any point, choose Type, go to your Glyphs panel, and find that bullet character. You can see it's right over here and simply double-click to add that character to your document. I'm going to press Undo though. I am actually going to move my Glyphs panel here to this side. And let's just highlight this one bullet over here. I could increase the point size to maybe 14 point and instead of having a circle, if I wanted to have it an oval, I might go ahead and change the Horizontal Scale here to maybe 200%.
Now instead of a regular bullet, I have some that looks little bit different. It's more closer to maybe a graphic. So I am starting to use fonts, but in some kind of graphic form. In this case, I am not really worried about distorting letterforms. I'm getting a specific shape by using a regular bullet character and then using the Scaling option here. Now of course, there are many benefits to using fonts in this way by simulating the actual look of graphics, because I don't have to draw the graphics myself. It's easy to copy and paste them and move them around my document because they act like type.
In fact, they are type. And you know there are certain typefaces that are just made up entirely of pictures, for example Zapf Dingbats. Let me move my cursor over here. I am actually going to delete this bullet right here. And I'm going to go over here to my Glyphs panel, and I am going to change my typeface to Zapf Dingbats. I am going to type in Zap. It will jump straight to Zapf Dingbat. This is a picture font. I will press Tab to accept that. And now I will see all the characters that exist inside of the Zapf Dingbats font. If you don't have Zapf Dingbats on your computer, maybe you have Webdings or some other picture font, and maybe instead of a bullet character, I want to use a box.
Well, I have this nice square over here that I can use. I'm going to double-click on it to insert it into my type, and if I don't want a perfect square, maybe I want to have a rectangle shape, I can actually select this rectangle and change its horizontal scale, maybe make it 500%, and now I get a nice wide rectangle here. Again, that's a character inside of a font. It's not that I took my rectangle tool inside of Illustrator and drew a box, so it moves just like the text does. Whenever I move my text object, that moves along with it. I can change the point size, so on and so forth.
So you might find it beneficial to actually work with some picture fonts and then use horizontal and vertical scale to get things to look just the way you need them to.
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