Tutor Tanith

Working with Text

I'm trying to do a text design, but the text is too small!

Well, in a way that it a good sign. It means you are probably using a template, or at least paying attention to the need to create your canvas large enough in terms of pixels. The problem usually is that someone selects the text size just by clicking in the box, and the numbers only go up to 72 or so. But a little trick that isn't very obvious is that you can actually type numbers in that box (usually) and make the text much bigger. So click in the box and type something like 150, or 300.

Another thing that is frequenlty confusing is the different ways of describing text size. There are two primary methods - "points" (pt) and "pixels" (px). Photoshop offers the same default numbers regardless of which you are using so it is easy to not know there is a difference or if it has changed.

For text points is often the default but it can be confusing. Points is left over from physical printing and is related to physcial measurements. By today's standard 72 points is supposed to be one inch. The confusion can come when designing on the computer screen. As we saw in the image sizing article computer images are made up of dots called pixels. And the physical size of those pixels can differ from one display to another. How they display is described in terms of how many of those pixels fit witin an inch. Typical displays are between 72 pixels and 96 pixels to the inch. To use points the computer has to "know" how much an inch is. So it creates the text in relationship to resolution. If the resolution is 72 ppi (pixels per inch) then 72 pt type will be 72 pixels high.

Well the same thing happens when working in an image editor. If you set the image properties to a resolution of 300 pixels then an inch is 300 pixels. A 72 point image will be an inch or 300 pixels. If you create a new image and set the resolution to 200 then an inch will be 200 pixels. And a 72 point image will be 200 pixels. So far, so good. It sounds kind of nice to know that you can design to text that is an inch high. But many of the graphics applicaitons do not retain the resolution you set after you close the image. When you re-open the image it will often be back to the default of 72 dpi. Again, as we saw in the "Understanding Image Resolution" that doesn't matter. But it will be confusing if we have remembered what point size we used before and try to apply that size to an image that is now a different resolution. I could show you how that works with screen shots but you will get it a lot more if you just try it.

There is another kind of text you need to think about. It is the text is not part of your design, but goes in your shop. Your sales will depend on the text you write for the top of every page, product descriptions and product titles. If the text doesn't tell the reader that what you have is what they are looking for there is a good chance they will won't click. The text should be descriptive, not a sales pitch. Write a word picture of what you are offering.Skipping this is the same as hiding your products and saying you don't want sales.


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