Shoppe Talk ~ Working with Type in Photoshop

July 12, 2010

The tip today comes from Shoppe designer Rebecca Shostak.

This is the first part of a three part post this week on editing type in Photoshop. Even wonder what those little things in the type tool box do? Well Rebecca is here to tell you :)

Editing Type in Photoshop A lot of times people ask me to look over their design work for their branding materials and page layouts. I try to look at all the elements in layouts as a whole, and ask myself some simple questions about what I see: is it balanced? Do the colors work well together? Is the alignment and spacing consistent and tight? Finally, and most importantly I ask myself about the typography. Does it look clean and balanced? Does it convey a message clearly?

Typography is an extremely important and quintessential part of graphic design. Without strong type, a design with a message automatically fails. As simple as type may seem to work with, it takes years of practice and study to perfect. Put simply, good type is tough.

The good news is that it isn't hard to get some pretty type going in your design once you learn the basics in both concept and tools. You can turn a design that looks cramped and cluttered into something powerful and clean in just a few steps if you know what to do. And if all else fails, there's lots of good stuff to choose from in The Shoppe (: The first thing to know about typography is that it's very flexible.

When you write a paragraph using the default type settings in Photoshop, it usually looks very flat and unexciting. A lot of times amateur designers freeze up at this point and don't know how to fix it, so they just sort of look over the paragraph and leave it as-is.

The default settings for type in photoshop are designed to make the words look legible, but it's up to you to take it to the next level. Let's start with making a default block of text in photoshop. I made a text box (you can do this by selecting the T type tool on your photoshop tool panel and clicking and dragging it on your canvas) and filled it with text using a default font (Century Gothic), size 11 pt., with a headline sized at 24 pt. The first thing to play with in photoshop is called line height. You can adjust your line height by entering a value in the "character" panel in Photoshop, or choosing a value from the drop-down menu, as you can see here: Try playing around with lineheight on your paragraph to get a good feel of what you can do with it. When you increase the height too much, it can start to look a little disjointed, and can make little difference if you don't increase it enough. Typically I like my paragraphs to feel a little more light and airy than others might want, but it all depends on what you are trying to do. Increasing lineheight can also allow you to fill spaces that might otherwise look too empty. With our example, I am using Century Gothic font at size 11. I increased the lineheight from the default "auto" value to 20, and I like the way it's breathing a lot more now, and reading more clearly: Wanna see more? Stay tuned for the next two parts of this tutorial on Wednesday and Friday this week. If you want to be notified of the posts please subscribe above.

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