Learn about the character options in design software.
- [Instructor] In this movie, we're going to look at some of the character properties that we can apply and change. And to illustrate that, I'm here in Illustrator, no pun intended, and using the Character panel. I've got a bunch of different text objects here. I've got three separate instances of what's called point text just here and I've got an instance of some body text just here also. So let me start off by using the top and the most obvious of these things and that's the font family that is currently in use.
And if I click here on the disclosure, you can see that I can cycle through loads and loads of fonts that are installed on my system. If I choose Bodoni 72 just here, oops, that's jumped across to something else, I'll try that again. Underneath that, I've got the variants and this will choose other fonts from the same family group. So if click here, it will show me that I've got Book and Bold Italic and Bold. And these are all members of the same family.
In fact, if I go back to that list like so, there's this disclosure triangle just here. If I click it, you can see them there also. So all part of the same family, just different weights and variants. The next thing I can do is change the type size. And if I click on this body text here, I'm just going to dial up this size and simultaneously, while I dial it up, just take a look at this box here, which deals with the interlinear space or leading.
And as I push that up, you'll see that's changing. Now, the numbers that are inside there are in parenthesis, which means they are being set automatically by the application. And if I just push that up one more to 20, you can see this is 24, which means it's using the default of 120%. Now, I can change that, of course, and override it. And if I just dial this up a bit further, you'll see that the line space there grows. And this may potentially make something easier to read.
Within a few points, if you go crazy, then all you're doing is getting the eye to jump a long way between lines. But bringing it down to just something a bit over about 140%, I think is about the maximum you'd really want to go to. Then, that can make it easier to read. Underneath that, in the next row, we've got kerning. And kerning is the relationship between pairs of characters. Now, if we look at the word Properties just here, there are few things where their spacing isn't disparately even, such as between the t and the i just there.
So I'm going to double-click here to edit the text and then, place my cursor between those two and I can then dial up the kerning there to move those slightly further apart. There you go, that's much more agreeable spacing than it had just a moment ago. Now, the reason this doesn't work exactly when I type this is because type is designed with some maths inside of it that spaces the characters out evenly.
And that's generally done within a range of about six points to somewhere in the mid to late-50 points. Anything like this, because this type is designed for body copy, that you go over that, then those metrics, that's the way of describing them, then they kind of change. The software tries to scale them, but it doesn't always do it successfully. So whenever you're doing big type, watch out for the kerning because the chances are, you'll have to fix it yourself.
The next property can be applied over a range of characters. So if just double-click or indeed triple-click to select this entire line, I can change this value, which is tracking. And if I push this up, you can see that proportionally, all of the character spacing here is changing. And if I pull it down to negative values, then it's getting very close and tight together. Now, there are some kerning issues appearing there at the same time. But that's how you can space out character ranges as well.
And if you got some very small type, a little bit of a positive tracking value possibly helps to make that more readable too. I'm going to skip over the next two things, because like most people who love type, they should never, ever, ever be used. And that's horizontal and vertical scaling. And it's because it distorts the character shapes. So someone's gone to all of the effort of designing beautiful, beautiful character shapes and then, someone comes along and just changes them. At most, maybe, with the width, one or two percent can be considered acceptable if it's for copy fitting.
But that really is about it, because you won't really notice that. Between one and three, I'd say, is fairly safe. Then, we've got baseline shift. If you remember from the basics of type, everything sits along a baseline and here, Illustrator's showing us that baseline. And I can actually shift that and move characters up and down. And sometimes, you want to do that for a range of different reasons, but there's a control there. You can do it sometimes to make things look a bit more fun, is one excuse you've got for doing it.
And character rotation. Now, I don't think it appears in any of the other Character boxes in the Creative Cloud applications. But Illustrator has that here. And later on, you'll discover a way that we can do this by clicking and dragging as well. Underneath that, I've got a range of different options and these are sometimes what is known as faux, that's f-a-u-x, the French word here, fake options. Okay, and these can make changes, so if I just undo what I did there with those characters, if I just back that off just a little bit to set it back to how it was and just change the baseline back there, it might take me a moment there.
There we go, few different things. In fact, do you know what? I'm just going to use the other word here just for the minute, because it'll take too long. If I click on this one, it converts everything to all caps. Well, that's if you got an all-cap variant. If you don't, it fakes it. Similarly with small caps that you may use on maybe a single line. It's kind of common to use those in formal letterheads sometimes. But again, if the small caps variant doesn't exist inside of the font, it will fake it.
And you have to be very, very careful with faked characters because sometimes, they don't work out as well as they'd expected further down the line if you're using this in print. Then, we've got superscript and subscript. If I select this number here, for example, and click for superscript, this is the sort of thing where you might make a reference like so. It moves it up there. Again, if it doesn't have a particular glyph for that, it will fake it. And the opposite of superscript is subscript.
There you go, so if you were doing a formula, it would do that. And if has the glyph there, it will use it. If not, it will proportionally scale it. And the way you can usually tell visually, this one is an actual glyph here, I believe, because of the weight. Otherwise, they tend to look a bit thin in comparison to the rest of the text. Proportionally, of course, because they're a different size. But this one is okay. And then, the last two things you've got on here, which are really desert-island solutions as I like to think of them, are underlining like so.
And you can see how that doesn't work with that baseline-shifted character. We'll just take that off. And strikethrough, just there. But really, I can't think of any excuse for either of those things. And there you are. In the next movie, we're going to take a look at some paragraph level settings.
- The creative process
- Layout and composition
- Transforming images and assets in Photoshop
- Drawing logos in Illustrator
- Designing graphics and documents in InDesign