Pixel fonts are all the rage these days in web design. Why? Because they're cool. And they also can be very small and still legible. I'll show you some techniques to make sure your pixel fonts come out nice.
First of all, you have to make sure that you know how many pixels a pixel font should be. Usually, the font designer will tell you this. Some fonts are 7 pixels, some are 5 some are 9 etc... You have to either have them be exactly this size, or a multiple of this number. For example, a 7 pixel font will look good at 14 pixels as well. It will be pixelated looking, but many people like this look. Take a look at the following image.
I have written a few lines of text using a couple of different pixel fonts. Some are sized exactly, and others are not. You can see how difficult they are to read when they are not the correct size. Sometimes you can experiment with different sizes to see how they look. But very rarely does a pixel font allow you to deviate from the recommended size.
Also pay attention to the lines that say they have antialiasing turned on. Antialiasing is a way to make your fonts look smooth by adding pixels to the edges of themin lighter and lighter shades until they fade out to nothing. Since pixel fonts require a specific map of pixels to make them perfect, you can't do this. They will get very blurry and impossible to read. The only way to make them look perfect is to turn the antialiasing off.
Below is you upper options palette in Photoshop. There is a drop-down box that I have circled that dictates what antialising scheme you use. To turn it off, choose "none" in the options. You will have to select the Type tool in your tools palette to do this.
That's pretty much it for this week. Pixel fonts are great, and you can pick up a lot of them for free. Just do a search on the internet or visit your favorite type foundry and you are sure to find some that you like. Many times designers will design the same style font in several styles and widths. You can find all capitals fonts, or both upper and lower case fonts in a number of great styles. Have fun!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Spivey is a web designer and developer for Conkling Fiskum & McCormick, a Public Relations firm in Portland, Oregon. Josh has been working with the web for 3 years, and has earned several awards for his work. In addition, his work has been featured in Fortune Small Business magazine. Josh uses Photoshop as his main web design tool. From start to finish, Photoshop is the key part of his web design toolbox. When he is not working, Josh enjoys golf, spending time with friends and family, and digital photography.