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Tutorial [ELIO'S NOTES] Using fonts in your signatures
#1
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A DISCLAIMER, BEFORE I START:

Most of what I'm writing here is the result of learning a lot from my time studying Graphic Design with Animation in university, plus learning from folks more experienced in making signatures/graphics from some other forums and Tumblr. And there's still a lot more I need to learn (I don't know how to make graphics with JUST fonts, for example). With nearly all of my tutorials so far, don't take this as THE definitive guide -- there are a lot of great tutorials out there, so venture forth and experiment often! 

BASIC LOWDOWN

First things in order: unless you want to go against the System and KNOW what you're doing, I recommend not using these fonts ever: Papyrus (unless you're making a sig of the great Papyrus Undertale), Viner Hand, Curlz MT (why is this font even a THING in the first place) and various other old fonts that came bundled with Windows. You'll notice that I don't include Comic Sans in this, because 1) Comic Sans is accessible for people with dyslexia and is recommended by the British Dyslexia Association and 2) it's actually pretty good for comics. If you know how to use it. But we're not trying to make comics here, so probably don't use Comic Sans in your graphics. 

Second, take some time to learn about kerning! I'll give you a really basic lowdown on what they are, but for more information, you can read about it here: all about kerning.

That being said, please sit back and enjoy the guide!

PART 1: SERIF AND SANS SERIF

There are a LOT of font types out there (cursive, mono, handwritten, etc), but let's focus on the two MAIN font families, the ones that are widely used everywhere in every facet of life: the Serif & Sans Serif font. 

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The Serif font can be described simply as any font that has tiny "feet" that marks the ends of each characters. These are called serifs (yes, that's why it's called a serif font, because of these serifs), and they're like this due to their origins: back in the Roman times, stone carvers carve these little "feet" following the brush strokes of painters that originally paint the wordings in their work. Serif fonts typically feel traditional and serious -- it's why your teachers and lecturers likely tell you to use Times New Roman in your reports 99% of the time. You'll also see these in designs for formal events (the ones with a lot of protocol and its list of guests involve prominent community figures. I see that a lot). 


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Unless you already figured it out by this point, sans serif fonts are fonts that do not have the extending serifs at the end of its characters (hence sans serif; without serifs). It used to be called gothic , among other now-defunct names, and used to be considered "uncultured" during the time of the Serif until the age of Neoclassicism, and most ancient writing and paintings use them to depict Greek and Etruscan languages. There's a more complex history behind them than I can write here, so do read up on it here.

There's a really nice article that explains these two fonts in a more comprehensive manner here


PART 2: MAKING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR TYPE USAGE

There are a LOT of ways you can make the most out of these! But for the purpose of graphic making, I'll try to keep it as simple as possible!

#1 Serif + sans serif fonts = quick, easy and great combination

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#2: Keep combinations simple

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#3: Vary font weights and styles to create emphasis!

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#4: Cursive/script fonts are best with sans serifs! 

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PART 3: KERNING, LEADING AND TRACKING

The process of kerning, leading and tracking can be described best as a way to adjust the spaces between characters in a proportional font. It's a way to improve readability and legibility of fonts -- although it's not always necessary in design. Here's how they work:

1. KERNING

Kerning is the space between two characters in a typeface. Most times when font makers design their typefaces, they already take this into account, so there's not a lot of work you need to do (especially when the kerning is very meticulous). In Photoshop, there are two automatic types of kerning: metric kerning, where the adjustment is done based on measurements determined by the type's designer, and optical kerning, that adjusts the spacing according to what it should be based on the letter beside it. Here's a demonstration:

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Adjusting the kerning can be very simple, but the impact can be significant! Here's how to adjust the kerning in Photoshop, and some further reading on why kerning can have such a huge impact in your design.

2. LEADING

Leading is defined as the distance between the baselines of two lines of type. To put in simpler terms, it's the spacing between lines. When you write reports for school/college, do you notice how your tutors tell you that you need to make sure there's a 1.5 pt spacing in your paragraphs? That's what leading is. In design, however, you can dictate this however you like! Bear in mind that wider leading results in better readability, while narrower leading might potentially look cluttered -- but can look good still when applied in small-scale designs.

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3. TRACKING

It's easy to confuse tracking with kerning -- after all both of them adjust the spacing between characters, right? The slight difference here is that while kerning adjusts the space between two characters at a time, tracking adjusts the spacing for characters throughout the entire word. You can use this for greater effect and for emphasis -- although overdoing it results in your work looking cluttered. Try not to use tracking if you're using script fonts. 

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And that's the basics for now! Next, I'll give you a little demonstration on how I add text to my signatures, and some of my favorite fonts that I like to use! Here's some more reading that you can dive into in the meantime!
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#2
I finally finished this tutorial, man, I didn't realized that font is one of the most important aspects when designing something; it needs to be readable, but at the same time, attractive to the eyes. thonk Now I'm remembering all those awful fonts I used for my graphics lmao!

Anyways, this is an extensive tutorial that needs to be pinned to the top. It's a great way for members to make their own graphics, whether on the forum or other graphic projects. What do you think @LoopyPanda?
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