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.