Join Nigel French for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with OpenType alternates, part of Type Tips Weekly.
- [Instructor] In this week's type tip I'm going to show you some things that we can do with an open type font that has an extended range of alternate characters. Specifically the typeface I'll be using is called Paris Pro. This typeface is available at moshik.net. It's from Moshik Nadav Typography, and it is notable for the number of different permutations that you have with each of these characters. I'm going to create my treatment in Adobe Illustrator.
I could also do it in InDesign or Photoshop, both of which have support for open type alternates. The reason I'm doing it in Illustrator is because I'd like to take it a step further, and once I have my composition, then fill in the negative shapes with color, and for that I'll be using the live paint bucket. Let's now move over to a second art board where I have my type. I'll select this and change the typeface to Paris Pro Regular.
You'll see that begin with each of the letters unadorned, I can now switch to my type tool and select the letters one by one, and if I just zoom out we will see that beneath my selection I have my type contextual controls. And these will offer me alternates for my selected character. Now typically, when you're working in this way with an open type typeface, this approach works just fine, but because there are so many available alternates, it's going to be preferable to switch to the glyphs panel.
And on the glyphs panel I need to make sure that I am showing the alternates for the current selection. So I'll just experiment with a few different options here. And what's great about this typeface and others like it, is that you just have an infinite number of possibilities. So let's say I like this, that may be as far as I need to go, but if I want to take it further, then I am going to need to convert my type to outlines for the next step.
So with it selected I'll come to the type menu and choose create outlines. So it's now vector shapes as opposed to editable type. So that I can select each of those shapes, I'm going to need to ungroup the result. Let's come and change the color, and then with my main word selected, I'm going to come to transparency and change the transparency on that to multiply, so that we have a nice interaction where the letter shapes overlap.
What I want to do next is make this word simple into a live paint object, and to do so will mean that I lose the transparency. So I'm going to come and create a copy of this selection on a new layer. On my layers panel I'll create a new layer, hold down my option or alt key, and drag that square that indicates the selection to layer two. I'll now turn off layer two, come back and select my object on layer one, and then come and choose my live paint bucket.
And then when I click, you see we get this warning telling us that we're going to lose the transparency. I'll acknowledge that. And now what I want to do is I actually want all of these shapes to be filled with a pastel gradient. So I'm going to come to my swatches, and bottom left of my swatches panel I will choose one of the preset gradients. Gradients, and then to pastels.
And I'm going to use this blue. And in addition, I'll get my live paint bucket and I'm just going to drag over this to fill all of those negative shapes with my gradient. And because it is a gradient, we're still going to be able to discern the different shapes because the gradient will start and stop at different points within each of those segments.
Now to finish the effect, I'll come back to my layers panel, and I will turn back on the version in green that has the transparency effect. And then I just need to come and select these two words and bring these to the front by pressing command shift and my right square bracket. So that's just an idea for something that you can do with an open type typeface with an extended ligature set. Paris Pro is a commercial font. It's not cheap, but if you want to experiment with this same approach, you could use a typeface called Bickham Script Pro which is available on Typekit.