Miss Val (tinebrella) wrote in psychedelicats,
Miss Val

An ancient text guide of sorts

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this thing in 2016 (I think?) then disappeared from the face of the earth and forgot all about it until last week I clicked on POST NEW ENTRY and lj asked me if I wanted to restore my last draft. I did out of curiosity, and there it was, this text guide of sorts, in all its ancient glory.
I didn't change a thing, I just completed the inspirations section (only the title was there, so I think that's why I still hadn't post it back then, I planned to add icons and never did).
In the inspirations section I also added some book covers: I've been hoarding them lately, because they're a great source of inspiration, especially text-wise.

This is not going to be a comprehensive guide on how to text because there are plenty of quality text guides out there already and i don't think I have anything meaninful to add to that.
What I am going to do here, instead, is talk about how I work with text, the fonts I use, some tips&tricks and some inspirations. I hope you'll find of it interesting, if not helpful!

However, if you're looking for a comprehensive guide, I'm going to recommend the three absolutelybatty wrote (one, two, three), not only because she's awesome and her text skills are top notch, but also because her guides are really enjoyable and fun to read. I'm pretty sure that if you can do something with your text, Sam did it already and talked about it extensively in one of her guides.
If you want variety, you can also check this text workshop @icons_concrit I helped editing, it features some links to other text guides you might be interested to read.

I very rarely start an icon knowing I'll be adding text. Most of the times, text happens to me because the icon is looking empty, the composition is a bit unbalanced, there's something missing and no texture seems to do the job and so on. And when I do start an icon with some quote/lyrics in mind, I usually end up very frustrated and with a textless icon.
So I can't really say I get along with text. But sometimes, I manage to make it work! Here are 10 icons with text I'm pretty proud of:

As you can see, I tend to stick to simple rules, like don't use more than 2-3 fonts at once, pick colors from the icon and don't use more than 2-3 at a time, try and go with the composition instead of against it, stuff like that. I also tend to favor clean, classic (or classic-looking) fonts. Sometimes I rotate the text a bit, play with different sizes or place it so that only the upper/lower part of it is showing, but that's about it, I'm not very daring when it comes to text.
I'm also really lazy. You're supposed to have as many text layers as words so you can play around, but I usually have only one, two tops. You're supposed to try different blending modes, but I usually go with Normal or Screen. You're supposed to care if it looks blurry or too sharp in places, but look at the first icon there, the text is noticeably blurry but I clearly did nothing to fix it! xD
Sometimes I also settle for something I'm not 100% happy with, as long as it looks ok:

So I don't know, my point here is: if you struggle with text like I do, keep it simple and accept less-than-perfect results; stick to well known rules, go for clean looking fonts and pick meaningful lines or lyrics. Oh, and keep it short, unless you're going for some tiny text. Text doesn't need to be super creative to look good (or ok), and you don't need to try and add text to every single icon if it doesn't feel right. Sometimes text just isn't happening. It's fine, leave it to the text wizards, and do your thing.

I am a font hoarder and I have so many fonts. Like, so many. I always use the same 5-10 though. C:

However, I have a font tag @my tumblr, with plenty of free fonts for you to download and play with.

I actually have just one tip: pay attention to the anti-aliasing option you choose, there's usually one that looks better than the others for each font.
As for the tricks, again I only have one, but it's handy! You know how text textures are generally frowned upon? Well, if you ask me, you should use as many text textures as you want, because who cares. No, really, who cares.
Buuuut, if there's one thing that bothers me about text textures, it's that you usually have to go with the decorative/composition aspect instead of the actual meaning of the text. And sometimes the words just don't fit the mood of the icon, so you have to discard the texture despite its composition/decorative value.
So my trick is: find a text texture that works in terms of composition, and then recreate it with your own words!
01. by fuuurs >
02. by ??? >
It's not always going to work, but it's worth a try. Also, please don't do this with other people's text. I think it's not a big deal with text textures because they're often scans (and they're meant to be copy-pasted on people's graphics anyway), but you shouldn't try and recreate other makers' text in your icons.

12feethigh 12feethigh a_thari absolutelybatty afeastforme

ale_skyz blue_emotion bronze daynawashere ddionysia

emiels endearest erzsebet fromperdition fuuurs

fuuurs holidaylights jsfunction jsfunction jsfunction

kitamikeita letsey_x longerthanwedo naginis naive_astronaut

neversleeps nyaza pamkips pamkips pamkips

phaust_ phaust_ phaust_ poisonfield poisonfield

raiindust dixon spittingfish talipuu theotherayn

theotherayn uglybusiness val_valerie wickdshy wickdshy


Tags: !maker: tinebrella, *tips&tricks

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