Monday, August 11, 2008

Using Type as a Design Element

Play With Shapes

Add interest to the journaling on your pages by formatting the text in a special way. Pick a shape that emphasizes the theme of your page, as on this layout about a birthday. Using Microsoft Publisher, Erin Roe created a text box in the shape of a candle flame. Follow these steps to get a similar look.

1. Use the Word Art option to create a shape that resembles a scroll. Erin chose the “Wave” shape from the Waves and Banners menu. Rotate it 90 degrees so that it runs vertically. Fill the shape with white.

2. Make a duplicate of the wave and flip the copy to create a mirror image. Place it next to the first one. The space between the two is the shape of a candle flame.

3. To insert the text, make a text box that covers the opening between the shapes. Click on the box and select Send to Back. Type your journaling, changing colors to mimic the variations in an actual flame.

4. To adjust the size of your journaling, click Select Objects and move the mouse over all three items (text box and two shapes). Select Group Objects, hold down the Shift key, and drag the corners until the box is the size you want.

Wrap Text along a Path

Besides the photos, the title is often the first thing you see on a scrapbook page. It also plays a major role in setting the tone or theme of your layout. You can use basic word-processing software to create titles that are more than just type on the page. Lisa Storms created expanding type in Microsoft Publisher to convey the theme of her page in a playful way.

1. Choose a variety of sans serif fonts with varying thicknesses. (Note: Sans serif fonts don’t have lines extending from the ends of the strokes. Fonts such as Century Gothic and Arial fall into this category.)

2. Starting with the thinnest font, type each letter of the title in a separate text box using Word Art. Choose bolder or heavier options to increase the weight of some letters. Adjust the size of the letters so they “grow” as you reach the end of the word.

3. Once you have all your letters typed, select all of them by holding down the Control key while clicking on each one. Select Align Objects from the Arrange menu and then click Centers under Top and Bottom to make sure all the letters have the same baseline.

Combine Text Art Boxes

Using type as a page accent is an easy and affordable way to create custom graphics. Carrie ColbertBatt used a heart shape on her page to echo the sentiment expressed in her journaling. The shapes are backed with patterned paper, and text is printed along the perimeter of the hearts. Here’s how to make heart shapes like Carrie’s:

1. Divide the text into four segments of relatively equal length. Type the first segment of text in the shape of a half circle. Do the same with the second text segment.

2. Type the third segment of text in a diagonal line that moves from the top left to the bottom right. Type the final text segment in a diagonal line that moves from the bottom left to the top right. Align the four text boxes so they form a heart.

Use Dingbat Fonts to Make Shapes

When you find yourself stumped searching for the perfect paper, type can solve the problem. Backgrounds customized with your own words, font choices, and colors can help you create a very personal look. Nia Reddy used Photoshop to design a background for this page about her son, combining font sizes and weights for a great look.

1. Using the Layers palette in Photoshop, start with a solid green background. Create a new layer for the large text and change the text color to a lighter shade of green. Make a third layer for the smallest text and change the text to an even lighter green, leaving the title white. Create a fourth layer and use a dingbat font to make the large handprint. Center it in your printed text.

2. Print the document. Then change the greens in each layer, making the light greens dark and vice versa. Then print another copy of the page.

3. Cut a hand shape from the second copy. Adhere it to the darker background with adhesive foam to give it dimension

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