Tag Archives: fonts

The joy of text … or fun with fonts

Alice cover image

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland cover image from my version.

I love typefaces, typography and typesetting and generally playing about with how words look. I spent many years as a non-fiction editor, but I always liked to typeset the books I was working on when I could. When I was at Scholastic Children’s books I worked on highly intergrated illustrated non-fiction mainly, such as Horrible Science, Horrible Geography and Horrible Histories, and we had found it was easier if the editors did the layout, because they knew the text, and the designers did the initial spec, detailing and the covers, of course. It was my favourite part of the job, and as I got more senior and had to give some of it up it was something I really missed. Since I’ve been freelance my work so far has been mainly on the typesetting and digital conversion side of things – so hurrah!

A few weeks back I made a couple of sample ebooks using InDesign CC2014 to test out its fabby new fixed-format export, and while I was researching that, I came across a brilliant InDesign script called Wordalizer (thanks, InDesign Secrets!). It makes word clouds like this:

spread from Alice in Wonderland

Or like this:

spread from Alice in Wonderland

Now I love a word cloud! Wordalizer can use words on the clipboard, scan the open InDesign file, or you can type words in manually. I made the clouds in these images by copying a chapter of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the clipboard. You can tweak the list it generates, delete and add words – it will also accept short phrases and give an indication of the weighting of each word. Then you can assign up to four fonts, choose the colour scheme, word orientation, cloud shape, etc. Once the cloud is generated it is completely customisable. Each word is a separate outline object and can be coloured, stroked, deleted, resized, moved, rotated to taste. Or you can go back into the script and tweak to your heart’s content there – you can even recolour without changing the cloud itself. You can also export as an eps, jpg or png and take it into Illustrator or Photoshop if you want. Hours of fun for a type fan like me!

I’ve wanted to make a version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for a while, but I’m certainly not an illustrator, so I’ve used the Alice word clouds I generated as illustrations for my version. I did very little to these clouds once they were generated as I wanted to see what Wordalizer was capable of. More tweaking to be done to the book, but I’m pretty happy with the way it’s going. I’ve converted it to fixed-format ePub, and it’s set up in a Blurb template so I might get it printed too.

spread from Alice in Wonderland

spread from Alice in Wonderland

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Kindle Fire HD and e-production

The main reason I bought the Kindle Fire HD is so that I can test files for my conversion clients.

In a recent post I talked about the issues the new Kindle iPad app brought up for my conversion workflow (mobi7). InDesign will create css with pure black coding if you use the registration swatch rather than the black one (which is totally counterintuitive if you are used to print, but there you go). But I’ve found that the iPad and now the Fire’s night theme doesn’t work if you use that either. I’ve changed the color value to ‘inherit’ and that seems to work. I need to experiment more with using a master css file.

I’ve also found that it’s best to strip out any references to fonts if you want to use the font selection the KF gives you. It doesn’t seem happy with embedded fonts anyway – it just uses one of its fonts – usually the most ugly one! I’m possibly doing something wrong, but this has been my experience using the inDesign to ePub to Kindlegen/Previwer method.

I’ve tried the Kindle conversion plugin for inDesign and that’s been a dead loss for me. It won’t generate a toc and the change font size feature wouldn’t work. A definite no no for the Kindle user experience!

 

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