Type Design Software


Hello to all,

Let's say you have created a typeface, and now want to create various blocks of copy using that typeface. Is there a type design program that enables type to be typed out and precisely positioned, like you can do in a Word document, and then let's you save the type in PDF format or as a raster image?

Thank you,

Chris

Comments

  • Unless I'm missing something, it sounds like you're describing a page layout program, not a type design program.

    Adobe InDesign is the industry standard for documents, especially multi-page affairs, but you could use any number of tools: Pages (included with the MacOS), Adobe Illustrator and lots of Windows and open-source programs that others here are more familiar with. All the programs I mentioned will export PDFs and raster images.

    Heck, you could use Word, if you turn on kerning and adjust the use of ligatures, contextual alternates and stylistic sets to your liking. 
  • While strictly speaking these are the things that a page layout program does, it would definitely seem useful to me if this was integrated in typedesign applications, so that the step of generating and installing every updated version of the font could be omitted.

    I don't know how big of an ask that is, and I also don't know if there are any apps/plugins that already do this. Following!
  • K PeaseK Pease Posts: 120
    I haven't messed with it very much because my habits are still FL5 habits, but this is a function of the Sketchboard in Fontlab 7. As far as I can tell, it lacks real page dimensions, but you can arrange multiple blocks of type in it using any faces you have open, and get a PDF with File>Export>Window Contents.
  • Hi Chris,
    If you're under Windows, better than Word, Publisher can help you to accomplish that with precise positioning and options to save as PDF, jpg, gif, tiff, png...
  • ChrisChris Posts: 9

    Thanks very much for your replies.

    I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro, and whenever I needed to create a copy block I would use Microsoft Word. I would zoom in the screen in Word to a very large size, and take sceenshots and then piece the copy block together in PSP. The copy block would be large, say, for example, a Times New Roman block about 3000x3300 pixels. I would then manually remove the anti-aliasing, end up with the type in one color, and then paste the type onto the PSP image containing a background and other elements. When the image was resized down, the resizing would beautifully blend the type into the image. So the end result looked very good, but I was looking for a more efficient way of creating the copy block.


    I'm thinking about getting Microsoft Publisher as suggested by Yves. With Publisher, is it possible to save the block of type without anti-aliasing?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Microsoft Word can save files as PDFs.
  • ChrisChris Posts: 9
    Marc,

    I had tried opening a PDF in PSP that I created with Microsoft Word, but when it opened it was a blank image.


  • Sorry to hear that, Chris. Photoshop, for example, can place PDFs as vector or raster images. (I just confirmed a PDF exported from Word doesn't behave any differently than other PDFs in that regard.)

    Perhaps you could export a PDF from Word and then use an online tool to convert it to SVG, WMF, or some other vector format that PSP recognizes.
  • ChrisChris Posts: 9
    Regarding creating and modifying typefaces, what would be a good program to use for a Windows system?

    And, twelve years ago someone had told me that Macintosh computers render type the best. It was just something that the man had mentioned during a telephone conversation, and I didn't ask him to explain why. But I was always curious to know why he said that.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Chris said:

    Thanks very much for your replies.

    I use Jasc Paint Shop Pro, and whenever I needed to create a copy block I would use Microsoft Word. I would zoom in the screen in Word to a very large size, and take sceenshots and then piece the copy block together in PSP. The copy block would be large, say, for example, a Times New Roman block about 3000x3300 pixels. I would then manually remove the anti-aliasing, end up with the type in one color, and then paste the type onto the PSP image containing a background and other elements. When the image was resized down, the resizing would beautifully blend the type into the image. So the end result looked very good, but I was looking for a more efficient way of creating the copy block.


    I'm thinking about getting Microsoft Publisher as suggested by Yves. With Publisher, is it possible to save the block of type without anti-aliasing?

    Thanks,

    Chris

    Does Paint Shop Pro itself not have a Text tool for you to type your copy blocks directly in the app? I had Paint shop pro many years ago I seem to recall I did type things - unless my brain is misfiring which is always possible at my age. 

  • Sure, Paint Shop Pro offers this Text tool, but:
    • no saving to pdf
    • not really a text software so, more complicated than Publisher
    I'm not sure about anti-aliasing but my saved PDF file is perfect with Publisher.
  • Rather than MS Publisher, there's the more professionally aimed software from Affinity. Either Affinity Publisher or Affinity Designer would do the job. They're roughly analogous to Adobe InDesign and Illustrator at a fraction of the price and with no subscription. Then again, if those are overkill for your purposes, MS Publisher should work.
  • Thank you Cory for the tip on Affinity. I thought it was an expensive pro tool but the price is affordable.
    Thank you Simon for your opinion on this software.

    You are both helpful.

    What is your appreciation on quality vs price, please?
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 168
    edited November 23
    Affinity's support for OpenType features is OK but not entirely adequate. Support for variable fonts is absent, but even Adobe is still playing catch-up there.
    If Chris's need for testing his fonts extends to non-Latin scripts, Affinity isn't the right tool. Affinity's software is still relatively new, with missing pieces that are essential to some.
    However, despite these deficiencies, Affinity is an affordable upgrade to an awkward work routine using Paint Shop Pro and is an alternative to MS Publisher.
    Either Affinity or MS Publisher could be appropriate. One difference between them is that professional graphic designers seldom use MS Publisher. In comparison, the Affinity suite has gained considerable respect from professional designers as an alternative to Adobe CC. The difference might not be relevant to Chris's needs, but I thought it worth mentioning.
  • I am a happy user of the Affinity suite, but I rarely typeset anything other than basic Latin glyphs with those tools. Their OpenType layout is custom and so only capable of the languages that they deem necessary. Support for right to left scripts, for example, does not exist, and judging by their response to such feature requests, this will stay that way for the foreseeable future.

    It’s a great, snappy tool and fits my workflow well. Better than anything else I tested. Hopefully, I can use it for more tasks in the future. They do offer trial versions, so you can test and see if the apps fit your workflow as well.
  • ChrisChris Posts: 9

    Thank you to everyone for all of your replies to my post.

    Here is a list of the abilities I would need the program to have:

    (1) The ability to typeset with absolute precision — precise letter spacing, line spacing and type size. With the version of Microsoft Word that I use, it is only possible to select, say, 8.0, 8.5, 9.0, 9.5, etc. for the type size. With other programs is it possible to select 8.0, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, etc.?

    (2) Able to work in layers, with layer sheet sizes being very large, say 10,000 x 15,000 pixels if needed.

    (3) Able to load in a shape, say a circle shape, as a background layer and then on another layer typeset the type around the circle shape. Please see the below ad, and see how the body copy at the bottom right is wrapping around the yellow circle:


    (4) The ability to turn off anti-aliasing.

    (5) The ability to export as a PDF and raster images.

    Thank you,

    Chris


  • Adobe InDesign can do all those things.

    I’ll be curious to hear about Affinity and Publisher on some of these issues. Turning off anti-aliasing, for example, is a perfectly valid but uncommon wish, so I wouldn’t be surprised if not all apps can do it.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 168
    edited November 24
    @Chris, I'm far more familiar with Adobe's Creative Cloud publishing apps than Affinity's, but I have used Affinity on a few book and magazine design projects.
    Both Affinity Publisher and Designer enable adjustment of point size, leading, and letter spacing to whatever degree is needed. Both support layers. Affinity Publisher has good support for wrapping text blocks around objects. The last I checked, Designer could fill shapes with text but not auto-wrap that text around other shapes. Both apps enable turning off antialiasing, but it's layer by layer. I've never used this function, however, so I can't vouch for it. Both support exporting directly to various raster and vector formats (including PDF).
    Like the older and better-developed Adobe CC software, the Affinity apps have a steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with layout and drawing applications. They're possibly overkill for what you have in mind. But they will do the job (especially Affinity Publisher) unless you need support for some non-western scripts, as was mentioned earlier.

  • ChrisChris Posts: 9

    Cory,

    Would you recommend that I purchase Affinity Publisher or Affinity Designer? And when you purchase these programs, do they let you upgrade to newer versions for free?

    Has anyone used Scribus? I wonder if Scribus would be able to do all of the things on my list.

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • ChrisChris Posts: 9
    Cory,

    Reading your post again, I think Affinity Publisher would be the program I should purchase. As you explained, it has the ability to auto-wrap text around a shape.

    Would I be able to import a very large raster, say 10,000 x 15,000 pixels, make that raster one layer, and then have another layer on top of it and do the typesetting?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • @Chris, yes, Affinity Publisher would likely fit your needs better than Designer. Designer is more of an illustration application (similar to Adobe Illustrator) that can double as layout software. Publisher is for laying out pages (similar to Adobe InDesign).

    Yes, you can import large raster files and wrap text around them — all on separate layers. I'm not sure why you'd ever need to import a 10,000 x 15,000-pixel file, but it's doable.

    All incremental upgrades have been free so far, but I suspect an upgrade fee will likely occur for significant upgrades, as in 1.x to 2.x

    I quickly created the following in Affinity Publisher as an example of how it can wrap text around objects. It has several different settings to control the wrap and the padding between the objects and the text.

    Again, though, there is a significant learning curve with this software if you're new to layout applications.

    As for Scribus, I haven't used it. It's free, however, so you'd have nothing to lose other than some time experimenting with it.

     
  • ChrisChris Posts: 9

    Cory,

    Thank you so much for your reply, and for creating the sample page. Would it be possible to position each line of type so that there is the same amount of space between the edge of the shapes and the first letter of each line?

    Thanks,

    Chris

  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 168
    edited November 24
    Below is a screen capture of the dialogue box containing the wrap settings. Separate padding settings are possible for the top, bottom, and both sides.
    However, making that padding visually consistent around all sides is problematic. For example, if the vertical height of an object doesn't correspond to multiples of the text line height, the padding won't match perfectly. The usual way to deal with this problem is to scale the height of the object to match.
    As for wrapping around a curve or an irregular object, a specified numerical distance is, of course, doable. However, the apparent padding between an object and various glyphs will differ slightly since the negative space around different glyphs differs. Visually adjusting and aligning the spacing by hand might be needed. There's no way to avoid a stair-step look between the lines, though.


  • ChrisChris Posts: 9

    Thank you, Cory.

    I would have no problem with manually adjusting each line by hand. As long as I would be able to accomplish the same quality typesetting around shapes that was done with the bottom-right body copy of this ad:



  • As long as I would be able to accomplish the same quality typesetting around shapes that was done with the bottom-right body copy of this ad:
    Please bear in mind that your example ad was done in a type size which is pretty small which has a large influence on how easy it would be to accomplish a similar task. Everything is relative.
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