Alternative Character Forms & Kerning
This week we're gonna take a look at typography, and specifically, I'm gonna try to push typography a little bit beyond the normal just type something in, and accept what it gives you. We're gonna customize letter forms that are there. And in the end, we'll transform something from editable text into a logo. And therefore, it's gonna be much more custom than if you just typed it in. Then I'm gonna show you how I'd stylize that logo to make it look more interesting. In the case of the logo on my website of digitalmastery.com, the letters look like they're in a script, and some portions of the letters look like they go underneath others and on top of another one. So they're kind of woven. And that's an interesting effect that gives it a lot more dimension. So let's dive in and start working with some typography. So I'm gonna start off here. I've chosen my corporate color over here for my foreground color. I've created a brand new document that's at least big enough to fill my screen, and...
I'm just gonna grab the text tool and I'll click within this document. Then up here at the top, I'm gonna choose the orientation where I wanna align it, and I'm gonna have mine aligned center. Then I'll come right over here to the size of the text. And I'm not gonna mess with the number. I'm just gonna click right here on this icon, and I'm gonna drag to the right until the text takes up a reasonable amount of space. Then this isn't quite the typeface I was thinking of using, so I'm going to come right up here and change the typeface. Now, I'm gonna use a typeface called metro script. That's the typeface I used in my Digital Mastery logo. And so if you wanna get that typeface, I believe I downloaded it from fontsgeek.com. I've only used it once. I simply searched for a metro script. You can download this typeface and install it. I'm not sure what the licensing is here, if it's just for personal use or not, but I've purchased the typeface in the past. I've used it for years. So when you first start entering text, it's gonna put in generic filler text just so you can choose the typeface you'd like. And since I clicked on that webpage and came back, I think it finished me working with that text. So if I wanna get back to working with the text, over here in my layers panel, if you just double click on the letter T that appears on this layer, that's gonna bring you to the text tool if you weren't there already, and it will select all the text. Now, I don't like it when the text is selected in that. I see the opposite color. It's reversed like that. But all I need to do is type command H on a Mac, CTRL H in Windows to hide that look. And then I can come in here and type whatever I want. That text is still selected. And I'm just gonna type in Digital Mastery. And then I'll type command A for select all. Or if I wanna work on everything, I can just click away from the layer and click back. Then therefore I'm not editing the individual letters of the text. I'm editing the layers as a whole. Another thing we can do size wise is just after I'm done typing in the text, and if I'm outside the text tool, I can type command T, CTRL T in Windows, to transform this and grab a corner and pull it down to make it fit. And then press return or enter when I'm done. If when I'm pulling this corner, it's easy to squish the text horizontally more than you are vertically, then there's simply a little icon up here at the top. Looks like a link symbol. And if that's turned off, then that's why you can squish it in one direction instead of having both change at the same time. And if you hold down the shift key when you're dragging, it toggles the opposite of whatever you currently have chosen up here. So I'm gonna press return or enter, and I think that's a pretty good size of text. Now, there are various options for text. And to get to those, you can come up here to the type menu. And there's a choice called panels. And in there, we're gonna start off with our character panel. And if I use my character panel, this pops open. Most of the choices that are really useful in here are also replicated over here in this area called the properties panel. The properties panel you usually have open on your screen because this is the same place where the properties for adjustment layers show up. Like if you applied levels or curves, you'd actually see levels or curves in here. And if you compare these two panels, you'll find that there's not a lot in here that's not found over here. So you don't really need this panel called the character panel. I just mentioned it 'cause it is related to the text and a lot of people use it. But these days, you can just leave it closed, and the properties panel should display settings related to text. Just know in the properties panel, oftentimes there are little collapsible sections like these, and many of those collapsible sections are also further expandable via these three little dots. If you click on it, you get more options. Click it again, and it brings you down just to the minimal. And so if there's ever anything you see me using, and you don't see on your screen, you might need to click the three little dots in a particular area, or just expand the section that I might be working with. Now, in here, there are some non standard options already turned on 'cause it's gonna remember the last options I used. Then that would be some of these icons. I'm gonna turn these icons off. And when I do, you might find that my text is changing. And so let's look at what some of those options do. First, the option on the left side is ligatures. Ligatures are combinations of two or more letters where the typeface designer has designed the way those two letters look together. And so in this case, if I turn on that option and turn it back off, look at the letter T in digital. When it's turned off, you see that the letter T is completely independent of the letter I, other than where the two connect. But if I turn that ligature feature and toggle it, then you're gonna find that that cross on the T is suddenly gonna connect with the I. And so that's one thing we're gonna have in this case. But it depends on your typeface and which letters you have typed in. Sometimes that's gonna do a big change for your image, and other times it won't. Then the next icon over is contextual alternatives, and that's where it can substitute a different shape of a letter for a particular letter, depending on where it's used within a word, like if it's on the end of a word or the beginning of a word. And so I'm gonna click on that to see if things change. And you see the letter L on digital and the letter Y on mastery. And you can see those changing. And so I have to decide which do I like. And in this particular case, I'm thinking I like what it looks like in the letter Y, but I don't like what it looks like in the letter L. So what you can do is go into this text. Just double click on the letter T for the type layer, and then just select the one letter where you did like the look of it. Then come over here and click to get the alternative. And therefore, it's only applying to the single letter instead of the entirety of the text. And when you're done, you can always get away from that. I'm just gonna click on the background layer and back. That's just a quick way of making it so I'm no longer editing the text. Then there are other things in here, and some of these will be grayed out. And that's because the typeface you're working with has to support these features, and not all these typefaces will have these features available. The next icon over here, this one is swash. And if I click on it, you should see a difference as well, in this particular text. Look at the letter G on digital. There are two versions of it, this version, which simply connects with the other letters, and this version, which I happen to like better 'cause to me it makes it feel more like a logo. And anyway, we have other icons here as well. There are stylistic alternatives. You can try that. And if you look at the letter Ts, there we got a straight bar on the T, and here we have curved ones. But in this case, the curved ones don't really help because they interact with too much of the other letters. But there is a way to get more alternatives than what is shown here. Before I get into that though, let me mention though, the features that I'm speaking about in here will primarily be available or exclusively be available with open type typefaces. So if you go to your text menu, where you can choose your font, you're gonna find little icons here. And if you see the letter O, that means this is an open type font. And if instead you see a TT, that's a true type typeface. That's more of an older style of typeface. They still work fine, but they don't have as many features. And then if you see I think a CC here, I think that might mean that you've downloaded it from Creative Cloud. It's part of your Creative Cloud plan. And so anyway, the ones with letter O are gonna be able to use these features that I'm talking about. And the ones that have CC should as well, because they're from Adobe, and they would usually be the more modern format. So now we have some of our letters, but I would like to further customize this. I think I like that letter T with that little line going through it that's straight, and I like how it interacts with this period. But why not get it to go all the way over here and interact with this period? And why not get something fancy going on with this one? Well, let's see if we can figure out how to do that. What I can do is I'm gonna select one of the letters of the text. I'll double click on the letter T for this layer just to get all the text selected and get to the type tool quickly. And then I'm gonna select this letter T so it knows that that's what I'd like to work on. I don't like that it's reversed like this, so I can also type command H, CTRL H in Windows, to hide that selection. Now, I'm gonna go to the type menu. And if I choose panels, there's a special panel called Glyphs. Glyphs will show you all the characters that are available in a particular typeface. When it first opens, it won't be this big. But you can grab the edges of the panel and expand it as much as you want. In this case, I'll make it take up about half my screen so I can see my text, at least half of it, at the same time. And when you're in here, up here are letters that you've used recently from this panel. So you might not have anything showing up up there yet. Then here is your typeface, and it should auto-populate with whatever text is currently selected. So it'll choose the right typeface up here. Then down here, you can see all the characters that are found in that particular typeface. But because there's so many, sometimes people wanna reduce what they're looking at. So there's a menu right here, which mine says entire font. But I can instead choose a subset of what's there. For instance, only looking at punctuation marks or looking only at numbers. And all it's doing is limiting what we're viewing. Most of the time I have it set to entire font. Then there's a feature where I'm suppose to be able to select the letter. Like let's say I choose the letter T. And then I'm supposed to be able to come up here and choose alternative for selection. And that means look at the letter that I currently have selected and show me only alternatives to that letter. But I find that never works, and I'm not sure why. But that's what it's supposed to do. But I wanna get an alternative for the letter T. So let's look through here. And this looks a little bit like a letter T. If I'd like to use that, all I'm gonna do is double click on this. And remember, I had the letter T selected before I came into this panel called the Glyphs panel. So when I double click on this, it's going to replace the letter that was selected. And so now I see alternative version. Then I can scroll through and see if there are any other alternatives. And let's say that looks a bit like a T. So I double click on it to see what would it look like. And I can continue going through here, but you're gonna find, at least with this particular typeface, eventually you'll get down to a whole section of Ts. They're right down in here. And I can double click on them to see what they would look like. And on occasion, you'll find one of these might not update. And that has to do with what choices you have over here. If you have swash turned on, or if you have alternative, sometimes it makes it so this fails to update properly. So if you do see a letter here, when you double click on it, you don't see it update or it updates to the wrong character, just see what settings you have turned on over here and consider setting them back to normal. But in this case, now I have the letter T coming through where that slash through it is going through both of my periods. Let's see if we have any other choices here. Just double clicking on each one to see what it looks like. And we can get swashes. All sorts of choices here. If I did not have the letter T selected before I came in here, then each time I double clicked on this, it would enter that letter so that it would add an additional letter to the text that was already there. So that's why I selected the text first. So I kinda liked it when it was going across both of the I's like that. So that's what I'm gonna go with here. So I can take a look at other things in here. Let's go and close that up. When you have the Glyphs panel, usually it'll show up as a little icon over here on the side like this, and then you can just click on it to expand it. Click the icon a second time to collapse it. If it doesn't look like that, then you can pull this little tab that's at the top. And if it looks like this instead, then what you can do is click on the name up here, Glyphs, and then drag that over here to this vertical column. And you'll see some blue highlighting indicating where it's about to put it. And I would put it usually right down near the bottom and let go. And that's how you can collapse it down so it's just the icon, if it wasn't that way to begin with. Then just click on it to open it. Click again to make it go away. All right, so now I'm liking the word digital. It's looking much more logo like with this custom G coming over this way and the cross on the T coming over. But now let's go over here to the word mastery. And there we also have a letter T. So I'm gonna select that letter T. I'll type the letter, or I'll type command H, CTRL H in Windows, just so I don't have to see the highlighting. And then let's go back to our Glyphs panel. And remember, you can always pull this out. So just click on the word Glyphs and pull it if it's covering up the wrong part of your screen. And let's see what alternatives to the T we'd like to use on that side. Do I wanna use this? No, it bumps into something. I think that's close to standard. There I think we're a little too close to the letter S, the upper part of the S. So I'm gonna skip the ones that have the horizontal going towards the left. Maybe this one where it goes towards the right. Then it feels like it's interacting with the letter E a little bit more. We have one more here, a little shorter. I kinda like the longer version. And then we could also try little swashes. That one's a little too long. That one... See, there's where it doesn't look like what I'm seeing here. Sometimes that has to do with these icons, and sometimes it's just unexplainable. Like right now, it's unexplainable that it's not displaying that. But there we go. That looks kinda interesting, like it's combining there in an interesting way. Let's see if we can get it to go further. Okay, this looks like there's a slight difference on these two if you look at the end of that line on the left side. That one extends a little further, and I think I prefer it. All right, so there we have that. Now, we have the letter Y on the end. And any time you have the end of a word, usually there'll be other versions of it. And so I might select the letter Y, type command H to hide it, and then look in here for alternative Y's. They won't usually be at the top 'cause that's where your normal letters are. But get down here a little way, and you can see here's a weird looking Y with a line through it. I don't think that would be appropriate. And let's see what else we have in here. Pretty sure there was a few alternatives. It'll just take me a moment to scroll through. And you'd think Y would be down by Z so you'd have to get way down here. Oh, there we go. So here we have this version. And I could also have it extend outward towards the right. It didn't update when I double clicked on it, so I can try turning these off. And there it was. One instance where having one of these features turned on prevented it from updating to this. Now, I actually don't really like either one of those. But I did, I think, see one up above where it was two letters combined where it looked different. I think it was up here. I don't think it was quite at the top. Probably right around in here. Look for anything that is two letters ending with a Y. There it is, I found it. It's right here. B-Y. I like that Y. That feels a little bit more logo like 'cause it's drawing it over. Unfortunately, it's a ligature, meaning that it's a combination of two letters. So I'm gonna show you later on how to incorporate something like this where I'm gonna take the letter B out of it, but use that shape of the letter Y. So what I'm gonna do for now is I'm gonna duplicate this layer. I'm just gonna click on the layer. There's a bunch of ways of duplicating. I'm gonna drag down the new layer icon. Then I'm gonna double click on the letter T for that new layer so that we're selecting all the text, and I'll just come over here. And I lost it again. It was in there. I thought it was like a B-Y. But I'm gonna find it once again, and I'm gonna double click on it to apply it to this secondary layer. And then I'm gonna take this layer, grab my move tool, and I'm just gonna move it over here on the side to remind me that I wanna substitute this letter Y for that letter Y. But before I finalized that, I'm gonna move it down a little further to make some room. And let's talk about some of the other special features. I'm gonna return to the layer that has the word digital mastery, and I'll double click on the letter T to edit that layer. And then I'm gonna press the right arrow key on my keyboard, which should advance me to the end of the text that's there so I could type an additional letter. Now, with this particular typeface, you're not gonna find this with all typefaces. Look down here at the bottom, and there are some weird things that look like the repeat. And let's figure out what those do. Well, I'm gonna go here and double click on one of these. That's gonna insert it into my text because I don't currently have any text selected. And when I double click, you'll see what it does. That ends up taking and putting in this little swoosh that comes backwards. Now, I wouldn't wanna use the letter Y that I'm currently using because that has a swoosh going up. I'd want the normal letter Y that ends where it usually would, as if you could type in another letter after it. So I might go back here to the letter Y and bring it back to the more standard version. Then these will end up fitting a little bit better. Although, I probably want the real standard version, the one that has an ending that ends upward, which would be this one. I'll double click. And if it doesn't look right, I gotta turn off these things to see, there we go, how to get back to that. So now if I have the normal Y, you can see how that connects with this little swoosh that's there. Well, I'm gonna select the character that is that swoosh, and I'll type command H to hide my selection. And therefore, if I got to the Glyphs panel, and I double click on something, it's going to replace what's currently selected. Let's go to the next one and watch. It's just extending that swoosh so I can get this hopefully to go all the way over there if I wanted to. I don't think it's quite appropriate with the letter Y though, because it seems to go into the loop of the Y. But if this was a different letter, then that could be a great way of ending a logo or just typography in general. But that's what a lot of these are. You'll notice that a lot of these look the same because it's only showing you the far right portion of the character. And the far right portion is just about identical in all of these. But then you notice this one right here suddenly looks different. It looks more bold down below. That's the start of a new version. If I double click on that one, you'll see it's much thicker vertically. And then I have variations that simply extend further and further towards the left. And I think that one's a little too far, but I could use that one if I wanted to. Again, with the letter Y, I don't think it's appropriate. But if the last letter was something different, this could be pretty cool. And I'll just show you some of the others, so different styles. I'm just gonna go to wherever it starts looking different and double click so you can see the various shapes that they offer. And here would be another. And there's just a whole bunch of them. Remember, not all typefaces will have these. This particular one, which is metro script does, which is rather nice. And I don't think we need one here though. So what I'm going to do is I'm gonna delete it. I think I still have that text selected. So if I hit the delete key, it will delete it. I'll then select the letter Y. And I liked the other version, but we're gonna end up replacing it with this down here anyway. So I don't really care what it looks like at the moment. But I'm gonna leave it in there so I know what the spacing should look like. Now, let's get rid of our Glyphs panel. We'll put it back over here on the right side in that vertical bar so we can get to it at any time. So now the next thing I wanna do is refine what we have here by refining the spacing. If I click between two letters, and I come over here to the properties panel, right here is the letter V and the letter A with a little slash between them. That is kerning. Kerning is individual letter spacing, the space between two specific letters in a specific area. And there's different ways of having it automatically calculate. It can do it optically or with metrics and where you can choose a manual amount. What I like to do is just click on the field where it has either a number or a text, and then use the up and down arrow keys. So I'm just gonna stare at my screen over between the letter D and the letter I, 'cause that's where my cursor was where I clicked. And now when I use the down arrow key, I can nudge those two things closer together or further apart. Then once I got that space nice, I'm gonna look through the rest of my text. And I'm thinking maybe right here, I wanna tighten it up a little bit as well. When you click here, it's going to take this number, which is negative 20 over on the right side of my screen, and type it in for here as well. So it might be a little too much. I'll go back, select that number, then use the up arrow key. I think maybe just negative 10 for that particular one. Here I think there's too much of a space. It just looks unnatural. So I'll click there, and then down arrow key until I like the amount of space. And I'm just looking for any other areas where the spacing might be not ideal. But I think I'm looking pretty good at this point. So at this point, I'm gonna think of my text as being done when it comes to editing the actual letters that make up the text and using the features that are related to text to change them.