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10.1 Typography

Affinity Designer has some high-level typography tools that make it a breeze to create curved text and text on a path, as well as to control things like kerning, leading, and tracking. It also allows you to create styles that save all the typography properties of text for reuse elsewhere. You’ll learn how to use all these functions in this lesson.

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10.1 Typography

Hey, I'm Kezz Bracey for Tuts+. Since we originally released this quick start course on Affinity Designer. And there's been some really great new additions to the software made by the team at Serif in version 1.5. So, we are bringing you five bonus lessons as part of the quick start course, that are gonna cover some of these new features. So I'm gonna teach you how to use art boards, constraints, symbols, and the asset panel. And these are all new additions in version 1.5. But before we get to those topics, we're gonna start out with the topic that I didn't get to squeeze into the original course. And that is how you can work with typography in Affinity Designer. All right, let's jump in. The first thing you need to know about working with typography in Affinity Designer is that there are three different ways that you can create text. And each one of these are a little bit different. There is artistic text, frame text and path text. So first up you have artistic text, which is meant to be used for decorative designs. So, single words, headlines, logos, things like that. Then you have frame text which is things like paragraphs. So for copying a brochure or buddy text in a blood design, for example. And then thirdly, path text is when you make text run along a vector path that you've created to give that text a certain shape. So to make it go around in a circle or a wave, for example. All right, so let's have a look at each one of those types of text. How you create them, how you work with them, and what the key differences are between those types. Now the tool you're gonna work with is here. If you hold this down, you can choose between the artistic text tool and the frame text tool. So we're just gonna grab the artistic text tool to start with. And just click anywhere and then will add in some text. Now, let's select all of that and we're just gonna style a little bit, let's give it the, Roboto font family and will increase it font size, make it fairly large and we'll change it to, let's go with bold. Move this into center here, you can see a bit more easily. Now, let's create some text using frame text tool. So hold this down, that'll bring up the option to select the frame text tool. Now, this time instead of clicking, we're gonna draw out a frame. The size that we want to have takes fill. So in here you can paste in some copy that you might already have, or if you're just working with a prototype, what you can do is go up to the Text menu and then select Insert Filler Text. So that's really useful when you don't have that copy on hand yet. And we're just gonna do the same thing, we will double click to select text and we're going to increase the font size, let's take it up to 16 points. So, the first key difference between artistic text and framed text is how they behave when you resize them. Artistic text is designed to act much like any other shape that you might draw out like a square, circle or a vector shape. So when you resize artistic text, the whole word goes along with the size of the bounding box. And with framed text on the other hand, when you resize, the text itself doesn't change, what does change is the way that the frame is filled up with the text. So it affects the re-flowing of the text. Another significant different between artistic text and framed text is, in the same way that you can convert a square or a circle. For example, into curves, you can do the same thing with text. So up here, we'll just expand this to show the extra tools that don't fit on the context toolbag. You're gonna have the interface shrunk quite small at the moment. So we have Convert Curves here, and now. We can get into each one of these letters. Each one of these is now a vector shape that we can edit individually. So that gives you a lot of options for getting right in and really closely controlling the exact shape of your letters. Now we're actually just going to undo that change for now, so that we can keep working on this as a text object rather than a vector object. So basically to sum up the difference between those two, your Artistic text acts a lot like one of your shapes that you would use from these tools here. Whereas frame text, behaves more like actual text that you would work with in, say, a web design, for example. So that gives you a quick intro to Artistic and frame text. Now let's also have a quick intro to text on a path. So just move these off to the side for now, make a little space. Text on a path is pretty much what it sounds like. It's text that you can make follow any type of path that you lay out. So that can be a path on a shape that you've created using one of the shape tools here. Or it can be a shape that you've laid out with the pen tool. Any vector path, you can make your text follow along that path. So we're gonna start out here by grabbing the donut tool. And we're gonna draw out a donut. Now, we're going to select the artistic tool again. And then we're going to hover over the parts that are inside this donut. Now if you look closely, you can see that there is a little T with a squiggle underneath it. And when you see that squiggle that means that Affinity has identified that there is a path underneath your cursor. And if you add text at that time it's going to follow that path, so in the middle here, there is no squiggle. Right over the path, there is this little squiggle. So we're gonna click there and now we're gonna add in some text. So we'll just say Text on a Path. Now the first thing you might notice here is we've got some strange behavior where our text is not completely fitting around our path. And that's because you see these little red triangles here. They determine where the text on the path should begin and where it should finish. So if we want to make some more space for our text, we can grab these little things and we can drag them, To make more space for our text. It can be a little bit fiddly, but pretty much, if you just keep clicking and dragging these little markers, then you're gonna end up with the result that you're looking for. I'm just gonna roughly center them and then I'm also going to select all that text and I'm gonna click this button up here to center align it. And that fairly evenly distributes that text around our path. There are a few different settings that you have here to control how the text on the path behaves. One of those is this baseline control up here. You can see right now the baseline of our text is directly on our path, but if we change the setting here, we can get a completely different behavior. We just undo that, put that back to 0% for now. Another really useful tool is this button here, which will reverse the text path. That's easier demonstrated than explained, so I'm just going to hit that button to show you how it works. And there you can see that the text decided to run the other way along the path. And that's most useful if, for example, instead of having this text run along the top of this path here, I wanna have it run along the bottom. So then if I grab our little start and finish blippers. And move that around. Now that text is running left to right, as it goes around the bottom of the path, which of course is more natural for left to right reading. So we'll just undo that one as well. The next thing I'm gonna look at is how the character panel can be used to control your text. So we have shortcut for it up here. As long as the text tool is selected, you'll get this shortcut in the context toolbar up here. At the moment, you can see that there's a little bit too much space in between our letters. It looks a little bit funny. So what we're gonna do is use the tracking control, which is this one here, to bring that spacing down a little bit. So by hovering over any one of these values, you can preview what effect that's gonna have on your text. So we'll take ours down to negative 50%. That looks a lot better but it's still a little bit too spaced out. And we don't have any more options here in the drop down list, so what we can do is just type our preferred value directly into the field. So we're gonna change that to negative 100%. So that looks a lot better. Just gonna adjust that a little bit. But some of the spacing in between our letters is still a little off and this is where we can use current values. So in Affinity Design the way to do that is to place your caret in between the letters or spaces that you wanna adjust. This space here between the T and the e is a little off. And then from this kerning setting here, you can select a different value. So just as before, you can either select from one of the drop down values or you can type in a value directly. Or if you want to go with a shortcut, you can hold down Alt. And then you can either hold down the right arrow to increase the space, or hold down the left arrow to decrease the space. And this is pretty convenient, because then you can also adjust arrow across to the next space that you want to adjust, And you can just sort of eyeball this on the fly and get your spacing to a level where you're pretty happy with it. Obviously that's still a bit messy but that should give you pretty good idea of how some of these tools work. We've just step through kerning and tracing as well as these positioning and transform settings. You also have control over your underline and strike through settings and your general font settings that you would expect to find in any graphics app. So we'll just Select All. And let's try putting an underline on it. We'll change the font color a little bit. And then down here in the typography section, you can do things like converting your text to all caps, to small caps, and various other modifiers here. Once again most of these are relatively self explanatory so I won't go into too much detail on every individual setting. So that shows you how to work with some of the character settings and you can use those character settings on any type of text, whether it's Artistic text, frame text or text on a path. So now let's have another look at our text on a path and a little bit more information of working with the paths that are affecting your text. So I'm just gonna close this character panel for now. Now once you have put text on a path, the path still remains editable and the text will conform to whatever changes you make to the path. So you can transform the path, so if we grab this little corner here, you can see how that change effects the text. And you'll notice that I grabbed this corner here for that transformation, and it didn't preserve aspect ratio as I transformed that path. If you do wanna preserve aspect ratio, then just grab this little dragger out here instead. And now that's gonna be locked in. You can also edit individual path nodes when you're working with text on a path. So let's just grab that pen tool and I am just gonna draw out a very quick path. And we are going do the same thing that we did before, look for that little squiggly line and then we will add in a little text and say more text on a path. And that text is a little bit too big for that space, so I'm just going to shrink that down. And I gotta go back into Character because that tracking, make it look a little bit weird. So I'm gonna take that up to 0. Now, that's a little too big again. So I'm just gonna go with let's say 36 pt. And that's still looking a little strange because we have these sharp points here on our path. So what we're gonna do is grab the node tool, and we're gonna select these two nodes in the center here. And then up top in the context tool bar, I'm gonna convert those to smooth points. And now we can get down here and we can work with this path until we get the text looking nice. So that path is going to continue to behave like any other vector path in Affinity Designer. And you can make your text follow along with it, however you like. Okay, so we've gone through a couple of the settings in the character panel. Now let's also have a look at the effect of the paragraph panel, so we're going to go back to our frame text. And you'll notice that this paragraph option appears in the context toolbar here. So I'm gonna hit that to open it up. Now let's have a look at some of the settings that we've to work with here. For example one of the things you'll probably find yourself working with very often is this vertical spacing value here. So you can select from any of the values in the drop down list or again you can directly type in a value. Or if you want to work with multiple of the text size, what you can do instead is type in a percentage and it will automatically calculate the correct value here for you. So for example in my web designs, I like to have a line height of 1.618 M, which effectively works out as about 162% of the font size. So, I'm going to select % Height from here. Now, I'm going to type in my value of 162%. Hit Enter, and now that's calculated the correct point value for me. You also have other paragraph controls here like the amount space before paragraphs, after paragraphs. Your indentation in the first line, If you need that in indentation on the left side indentation on the right side and once again those things are very self-explanatory. So, let's just have a quick look at the effect if we start increasing the indentation on the first line for example. And if you start to miss around with these types of settings and you find that you're Word spacing is looking a little bit off here. Then you have more controls down here, so for example you have justification controls. If I change this to left justified, I can then use C settings down here to control exactly how the justification is controlling the flow of my text. So basically, when you're working with frame text and you need to control how it's spaced and laid out, then you'll wanna use this paragraph panel here. So we'll just close out of that for now. We're done with that. So now the last thing I want to cover is how to work with text styles. All of those different settings that you saw in the character panel and the paragraph panel can be changed into preset styles. That you can then use throughout the document. So you find the textiles panel over here, by default. I'm just gonna pull that out to make it a little easier to see. You can see that we have a bunch of styles in here already. Now what we wanna do is save this paragraph style that we've just been working on here with our little indentation and our font settings. So we just select our frame text and then all that we need to do save this styling is paragraph style is to just hit this little button here, in the bottom left. And we can give our style a name, we'll just call it indented. And then if you look in the bottom right corner, you can see that we've got a full list of all the setting that are being saved as a part of this style. So we're just going to hit OK. You can see that our new paragraph style has been added in here, under the name indented. So now we can switch back and forth between any of these pre-saved styles. And all of the settings that are saved inside them will automatically be applied. And we can do the same thing with character style as well. So, now this time let's select our artistic text. We're gonna open up the character panel. And let's just change a few things around. So let's give the text a new color. Give it a blue. We're gonna select, black as it's wise and let's just increase the size a little bit. Now, to create a character style, we're gonna hit this little button here, the second one on the bottom left panel. We could give it a name, let's just call it BlueHeading. Now in my experience, sometimes not all of the character settings are automatically saved when you created a character's style. So for example you might have text that's set to bold, you create a character style. And then when you apply it you have regular white text. So something that you can do is go through each one of these settings in the left here and make sure everything is just how you want it. So we have our color showing up correctly here but under font traits, to make sure we get the right weight, I'm gonna select Black and click OK. And here's our new character style here. And just like with the paragraph style, we can switch between any of these and have the attributes automatically applied. And then we can go back to our blue heading to get right back where we started. And if you ever don't need a text style anymore, the way you can get rid of it, is by right clicking on that text style and then from the context menu here you can choose to delete it. Alright so that wraps up all of the essentials of working with typography in Affinity Designer. In the next lesson, we're gonna move onto some of the new features that were added into Affinity Designer in version 1.5. And we're gonna start with Art boards. Art boards are an incredibly useful function. They're great for creating multiple views in the project, so things like the front or the back side of a flier, or multiple device sized previews for application and website UIs. So we're gonna go through how you can use all of those in Affinity Designer in the next lesson. I'll see you there.

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