Wednesday, December 23, 2009

OTF vs TTF vs PS...

Font Tip: Choosing the right font format
By Brian Tippetts

“Which font format should I use--TrueType, Postscript, or OpenType?” This is a question I get asked frequently and because we offer both TrueType and OpenType formats at ScrapNfonts, I thought this would be a good question to answer.

The quick answer is they all will work, but as technology continues to make improvements and updates, we should move to the newer options. Currently, on my Mac, I have all three different font formats running successfully at the same time.

Here is a font format primer to help you understand what you currently have in your font collection and what you are getting the next time you purchase a font.

Postscript (PS)
The PostScript font format was developed by Adobe (same company that produces Photoshop and Photoshop Elements) in the mid-80s and was based on Adobe’s PostScript printing technology. It was a high-end technology that was mainly used by designers and printers to create high-resolution output. The Postscript fonts consisted of two parts, the screen and printer font.

TrueType (TTF)
The TrueType format was jointly developed by Apple and Microsoft in the late 80s, several years after the release of the PostScript font format. The TrueType fonts contain both the screen and printer font data in a single font file, making the fonts easier to install. The TrueType format also included some new technologies, including “hinting,” a process that improves on-screen legibility.

OpenType (OTF)
The OpenType format, a joint effort from Adobe and Microsoft, is the latest font format to be introduced. OpenType, is also known as TrueType Open version 2, is an extension of Microsoft's TrueType Open format. Like TrueType, it still contains both the screen and printer font data in a single font file. The biggest advantage that OpenType has over TrueType format is that the font files can contain up to 65,000 characters per font. TrueType and Postscript font formats only contained less that 256 characters.

So, what does all this techno-jumbo mean?

Well, many font creators, like ScrapNfonts, are beginning to convert older TrueType fonts to current OpenType formats and also creating new fonts in OpenType format. Does this mean you are getting new characters in the sets? Probably not in converted fonts, but in new fonts, the possibilities are endless--ligatures, swashes, dingbats, initial caps, and old-style numerals all within a single font file. Of course, you will need an application that fully supports these fonts, like any Adobe product. Unfortunately, Microsoft (even though they helped co-create this format) still doesn’t fully support all the type features of OpenType in its Word program.

If you are asked to decide which format to download, TrueType or OpenType, you should choose OpenType. It is the latest format and is backwards compatible so it will work just like a TrueType font.

I hope this has been helpful for you and again if have questions that you would like for me to answer relating to fonts, please send them to and I may answer it in an upcoming post.

Bonus Tip:

I know many of you also need some help with font installation. However, because there are so many variables in computers and different operating systems, I thought that I would offer a link to some quick font installation help.

Go to

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Typing on paths with Brian

As promised, Brian has another font tip for you this week, and boy is it a fun one! It's a little more advanced, but can open up SO many design possibilities, plus he's got some freebie goodies. Here's Brian!


Hello again and thanks to of all of you that have replied to my call for questions relating to fonts. I can tell we have a passionate group of “fontaholics” as one reader said. I love hearing from you so keep the questions (and suggestions) coming to and maybe your question will be featured in one of my upcoming posts.

Before we get into the font tip of the week, I wanted to tell you a fun story. About a year ago, I was contacted by a police agency in the midwest, requesting my help in solving a crime. At first, I thought this was a joke and didn’t feel any need to reply to the e-mail. When I finally did, I was told this was a legitimate case where a crime had been committed and a note was left using many different fonts. They needed help identifying the many fonts and had heard from a fellow officer, whose wife is a scrapbooker, that Brian Tippetts (that would be me) was the person to ask to identify fonts. Anyway, I was able to help identify many of the fonts included in the letter and hopefully help solve the crime. So, next time when you are deciding what font to use in your card or layout, remember, fonts are important and can solve crimes! Enjoy.

Font Tip: Text as design using type paths
By Brian Tippetts

A fun way to add type in a playful way is by integrating the type into the design of your layout or card. You can tell your story or include a sentiment all in fun and unique way. You can do this by using type paths. These are “paths” that you create and select to be used for your text. This is, however, one of those concepts that will be easier to show you what is possible.

In example 1, I have created the 3 different paths using the Pen Tool in Photoshop. You can use the freeform pen tool that follows the movement of your mouse and creates a path or you can place specific “anchor points” to control the curve. Either way will work.

Then, in example 2, the Type Tool is selected and placed over the beginning of each “path” so that the icon changes to type on a path, you then click on the path and begin adding your text.

Once you have entered your text, you can begin to build your layout or card by changing colors, adding a title and background or just having fun. Once you get the hang of it, you will find many uses for type paths including stems for flowers, text around a circle or frame, or for any birthday to highlight the age.

BONUS: To get you started with type paths, I am making available the Photoshop (PSD) file for the Winter Card with layers, so all you have to do is change the text on the path and title. Currently, I have “LD Let it Snow” and “LD Joe” fonts used in the design of the card. In addition, I am including a Photoshop (PSD) file for type paths for the numbers 2 and 5 so that you can make a custom Christmas design using December 25.

SAMPLE LAYOUT: “It is great to be 8” by Brian Tippetts

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Guest Blogger: Brian Tippetts

We are very excited to announce our first ever guest blogger, Brian Tippetts! Brian has a long history with scrapbooking, design and typography. He has spent his entire career focusing on "what type is out there and how it can help communicate to the reader." We are honored to have him sharing his tips. Take it away, Brian!


Hi and welcome to my first font tip here at ScrapNfonts. I am starting out with a fun tip that can be useful for your holiday cards or layouts. Enjoy!

Font Tip: Using contrasting fonts
by Brian Tippetts

One easy way to help make your card or scrapbook layout read better is by using contrasting fonts. What I mean is don’t always use the same font for the title and journaling, but use contrasting styles of type.

In example 1, you will see that I used a sans-serif typestyle for the title and then a script for the journaling below. This not only makes it easier to read each text block, but it also adds a fun style to the look.

You can also do the reverse look. In example 2, I have used a script font for the title and then a sans-serif font for the journaling text.

Contrast is a design principle that is used frequently. Whether big and small prints or loud and soft colors, contrast can add a whole new dimension to your design. Contrasting fonts is a fun way to add style but most importantly can add to the readability of your journaling and title.

Bonus Tip

Here is a way to save time and money. Instead of printing out your journaling or titles over and over again to see if it “fits” within your design, try using this FREE font size ruler to help you. Print out the ruler or photocopy it onto a transparency, then overlay your card or layout in the area that you want the journaling or title. See which font size works best, using either serif, sans-serif or script styles.

This will save you time and money (from all the extra prints) and will give you the perfect size every time.

I want your feedback! If you have a font question (how to use fonts correctly, identifying one that you have seen, font technology, anything font related), please send an e-mail with your question to and include “Brian’s Top Tips” in the subject line.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lucky Lucky ScrapNfonts

Guess who has joined the scrapNfonts creative team? Brian Tippetts! Not only is he the former Editor-in-Chief of Creating Keepsakes magazine, he also has his own book about using fonts in scrapbooking called Getting Creative With Type. Yup, we're feeling pretty lucky to have such a guru of typography grace us with his wisdom.

Lucky for all of us, he wants to share his knowledge! He's going to be a regular guest blogger right here on scrapNgal blog! Keep an eye out for his font tips and tricks, freebies and inspiration. He's already getting started with two awesome offerings:

1. A free Christmas page of quotes and tags
2. A chance to win a copy of his book

So stay tuned. There's lots of great things coming your way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving in all it's glory

Thanksgiving at my parents house is a big deal. They've had years where they have successfully managed to sit and feed over 35 people! Tables and chairs are set up in every room, and my mom is a stickler for details. The whole ordeal is so nice, and a special little touch are name tags on each place setting. I made the ones above using DB Harvest and SNF Daphne.

Here's to wishing you each a week full of gratitude and good food. Enjoy this free pdf download with Thanksgiving word art!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Contest on BBTB

Regina Easter's Bitten By the Bug blog contest has started with a lucky winner getting a prize from SNF! Check it out here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Christmas bug is buzzing

This week I got to play with the new holiday Card Word Art sets from ScrapNfonts and boy were they fun! They come with simple holiday words, phrases and some designs inspired by DoodleBats, Brushes and existing fonts in really nice color palettes. I just printed out everything from each set and started mixing it up. There are so many options.

The colors are just right so that they blend well with paper I already had. For the Holiday Spirit Card Word Art, I matched it up with my Cosmo Cricket Early Bird paper and some red card stock I had on hand. The circles in the set are exactly 1.5" so if you have a circle paper punch at that size, cutting these are a cinch. Almost everything else is straight edged so it's really easy to mass produce with a scissors or paper cutter if you're making all your Holiday cards this year.

There's something about circles and pop dots that just go together in my mind. It's like peanut butter and jelly. They just are better together.

The second set I played with was Fa la la Card Word Art. Ok, so I just want to say that to me the holidays = Christmas music. This set totally gets that. Most of the word art in this set is inspired by Christmas music and I LOVE that.

Me and those circles with pop dots should make a club. Does anything do better to flatter a circle? I don't think so. Pop dots, you're my hero.

I was going to add this little guy below to my Fa la la la la card, but I ended up really liking the look of the striped paper, so I left him off. The paper from these cards is from Basic Grey's Lemonade, except when I used the strips provided in the word art kit and the one light blue strip is from random blue cardstock scraps I had laying around.
Can you believe it's already time to make Christmas cards? I'm so excited!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The lovely Regina Easter, whose delicious projects you might recognize from our design team, hosts her own blog, Bitten By the Bug, with challenges for cricut fans. The projects on that blog are stunning! Well, recently she had her design team incorporate DB Mulberry Lane into one of the challenges. They were fantastic! Check them out here.

ScrapNfonts has also offered to host her next contest, to be announced later this week. Stay tuned to find out more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

November Challenge

We're trying something a little different with this monthly challenge. I am a big paper lover, and I think there are a lot of paper lovers out there. Am I right? Sometimes the paper is so pure and lovely that I dare not cut it, but cut away! The prize of this challenge is more paper!

So here's the challenge: Create a card or a layout featuring a single word sentiment. You can have other words on the project, but one word should be the primary point of focus. Please use a scrapNfonts product in the layout and submit photos of your project to the SNF idea gallery by Monday, November 23rd. (P.S. If you don't have any SNF product, shame on you, we always have free stuff to choose from, so get at it.) The winner of this challenge will get this paper crafting kit:
image from

Here are some ideas to get you started.

Button, button, who wants a button?

The sincerest compliment to all of us at is the kind referrals that our loyal customers pass on to their friends. Please, share your love of our fonts by posting a button on your blog!

This button links to Copy and paste this code to your HTML/Java Script:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

This button links right here to Copy and paste this code to your HTML/Java Script:

<a href=""><img src="" /></a>

Monday, November 9, 2009

That magic photo

Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer... but sometimes I like to fake it.

I take a lot of photos. Most of my photos are "meh" and I think, gosh, I can do better than that. Every once in awhile I get a magic photo. Sometimes I don't even know I've taken it until I'm reviewing my photos on my computer. It was REALLY exciting to get a magic photo before the digital era, when you had no idea what your photos looked like until they were developed and processed... I'm so glad for digital.

Magic photos are photos I've taken that take my breath away. It's almost unbelievable that I took that photo! They come every once in awhile, I've had maybe 10 magic photos in my life. I took a magic photo last week and I can't stop staring at it. So I thought I'd add to it with a little scrapNfont magic.

Using SNF Jasper Hand and LD Woodland in white font color, I typed over my photo. I added a slight drop shadow then I made the typed layer transparent to 40% to keep most of the focus on the photo.

Here is Britta faking that she is a professional photographer with her magic photo (notice the watermark):

Gosh I love that photo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Frightening Food

Do you ever have times when your mind thinks of randomly absurd things and you do a double-take on your thoughts?

"Where in the world did that thought come from?"

Guess what? During the Halloween season you can let those thoughts fly and no one bats an eye. Like eating witch's fingers? On Halloween people say "oh cool!" Any other day, people say "huh?"
I made these fun "petrified mice" for a Halloween party last weekend. They were a hit.

One of the best parts about it was the name tags. They were so easy to make with DB Halloween Little Notes for the frames, SNF Dracula's Typewriter for the spooky name and LD Gregarious for the actual food name (in case anyone was worried they were really eating petrified mice. I know, they're so realistic).

I had labels for all my food. It was a blast!

Let's get a closer look at those absurd witch's fingers, shall we?

Have you seen these before? They're just shortbread cookies with almonds and red decorating gel. They are sooooo creepy, but SO cool for Halloween. You don't have to make creepy looking cookies to get the same "cool" response from your family or guests. Think of spooky and absurd names for all your food! I promise, it's one of the rare times that your random thoughts will get rewarded. Here are some I thought up:

Dragon skin or Dragon scales (for chips)

Bat Wings (BBQ chicken wings)

Zombie slime (Avocado dip)

Bird Brains (popcorn)

Werewolf droppings (whoppers)

It's fun! Give it a try!

October Challenge Winner

Congratulations to Hannah of Germany! She was the winner of this month's layout challenge. Here is her layout:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October Challenge

We have another template challenge for you this month!

You can either download this template as a photoshop file or a png file and work with the layers in a graphics program you're familiar with, OR you can use the image of the template as a sketch to base a paper project off of. All scrapbook pages or cards based off this template are welcome! You must ALSO use at least one product from ScrapNfonts in your layout. If you don't have any ScrapNfonts products, you are welcome to check out their free fonts.
Click here to download the Photoshop file template
Click here to download the PNG file template
Upload your finished project to the ScrapNfonts idea gallery by October 26th. The winner will receive a coupon code for free product at ScrapNfonts. Here is a layout I made with this template, to get you started.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Calendar Girl

Are you all singing "I love, I love, I love my calendar girl..." in your head now? I am.

Ever since the Calendar Super Bundle with the 2010 Calendar brush set was released I've been on a calendar kick!

"Anonymous" commented in my last calendar post asking for some direction on making calendars. Well, I am happy to share! Follow along to find out how I made the above adorable calendar. There are three parts to this: The making of the booklet, Creating the calendar and Putting it all together.

The Making of the Booklet

Ok, so this is a fun way to put together a little booklet. I started with double-sided 12" x 12" scrapbook paper. For my calendar I needed 7 pieces of 6" x 10.5" paper. So all I needed was three and a half scrapbook papers cut like I pictured below.

Since it's double sided, it's like I had seven different papers.

But it's even better than that! Since we're making a booklet, I made sure to flip matching pieces of paper to face each other. I especially wanted February to have the red polka dotted paper.

Next I needed to fold each paper in half. I wanted to be precise about it, so I measured exactly 5.25" and penciled in a light line with the help of a ruler.

Then I lined the ruler up exactly along the line I drew, held the ruler down firmly with one hand and gently pressed the paper up against the ruler with the other. I folded it exactly along the edge of the ruler so I would have a crisp fold. Once the fold was dented, I removed the ruler and firmly pressed the crease.

I did that with all seven of my papers, then I arranged them in the order I wanted them for my calendar.

Let's see... cover, January, February...

Perfect. There are my cute little polka dots for February.

If you happen to have an industrial strength stapler, binding these pages together would be quick and easy. Since I do not have an industrial strength stapler (and I rather think I wouldn't use it if I had one because I think the alternative is much cuter and more personable), I'm going to sew the papers together!

To start, I will draw five little dots, one inch apart, right along the middle crease of the middle paper. After I draw the dots, I'll use a needle and gently push it through all seven papers on the dots to make holes. Watch out for fingers!

Carefully holding all the papers together, I then take a needle and thread it through one way, then back over itself the other way. With five holes I know I'm going to end up with the two thread ends in the same place.

And so I will tie a knot. ("Right over left and left over right makes a knot sturdy and tight" matter how many times I tie a knot, that always goes through my head.)

Isn't this so fun! It's at this point where I get giddy and excited for the possibilities. I play with my little booklet and dream of it's future and think, "When you grow up, you could be a scrapbook or a storybook or an extended greeting card...." Oh right. I'm making a calendar. February, you still there?


Creating the Calendar

I used Photoshop to make my calendar. If you don't have Photoshop, follow along and you might be able to figure out how to do something similar in a program you have. OR you could just print out the pre-made calendar pngs in the 2010 Calendar Brush set and skip this whole section.

Here we go. First I opened a new file and sized it to size to 5.5" x 4.75" which is the size I want my calendars to be. Then I copied and pasted the blank month calendar template png in the 2010 Calendar brush set and scaled it to fit in my file. Hint: hold the shift key down while scaling the image to keep the proportions consistent.

Second, I typed a 1 and made several copies of it so each number was on a new layer. Then I changed the numbers to be in chronological order. To align and evenly space out the numbers, I put the far right and far left numbers approximately where I wanted them, selected all the numbers, hit the "align bottom edges" button, then hit the "distribute horizontal centers" button. (If these buttons are not visible, go to Layer > Align > and you will see these options.)
I did that with numbers 3-9 below. Then, after they were evenly distributed, I selected the whole row and while holding the Alt key down, I dragged the whole row down to the next calendar week. Holding the Alt key makes copies. I repeated this until all the rows were filled.

Then I went back and fixed the numbers so they would be right for January.

I used LD Little Fishie for my font, but this is totally cute with any of the fonts in the Date It Calendar Super Bundle. I know. I tried them all. It's so hard to decide on a font when you love them ALL. Next I added the month and year.

Whoops! Let's get the year right, shall we? And while I'm at it, I'll add a little color and some holidays and all those birthdays I don't want to forget.

After I save this (as a psd file and a jpg, just to be safe), it's easy to do the rest of the months just by shifting the columns of numbers. There are always seven days in a week, so the columns of numbers never change, just their order in the rows. To print, I opened two months of jpgs in a new document so I could print two on one page. You know, save paper, I'm all economical like that.

Putting it all together

Yay! So exciting! Here is what I have now:

It's time to cut out the calendars and glue them in place.

Oooo. Some of these papers are so pretty, I could almost leave the calendar just like this.

Almost. But gosh darn it, I just love those little DoodleBats, don't you? I put them on all birthdays and holidays and I still don't have enough. I think my calendar needs more. And bigger.

Awesome. Now my calendar is perfect.

Thanks for getting all the way to the end. I hope this helps you get started with you own calendars! (I'm talking to you, Anonymous!)