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How to Find Free Fonts Similar to Paid Fonts

It’s natural to take design inspiration from other people’s work. But there’s nothing more annoying than seeing a font you love and not knowing what it’s called, or discovering that it’s way beyond your budget.

Fortunately, there are lots of tools to help you identify typefaces, or find similar fonts for free. So, let’s take a look at the best ways to find free fonts similar to paid fonts.

1. Alternatype

find free fonts by name alternatype

If you already know the name of the font you’d like to use, but just can’t afford to buy it, then Alternatype is the tool to use. The site has a large database of typefaces—just enter the name of the one you like and it will suggest one or two free alternatives.

Downloadable and web fonts are both supported, with a download link for each. There’s also a Specimen option that allows you see the font in action before you decide to use it.

2. Identifont

identifont similar fonts

Identifont works along similar lines, allowing you to enter the name of the font to get a list of possible alternatives. Each font page includes a display with upper and lower case characters, a few symbols, and links to where you can get the fonts.

But there’s more. Identifont also allows you to match fonts by feature. Click through a series of options—does it have serifs, descenders, and so on—and you’ll end up with a list of suggested alternatives. You might not find an exact match this way, but you could find something you like even more.

Unusually, you can search dingbats fonts as well, to find those that contain certain symbols.

3. What Font Is

whatfontis find font

If you’re not sure of the name of the font, or it’s not showing up in the Alternatype or Identifont databases, you could use an image to identify it instead. Using What Font Is, you can either upload a screenshot of the text or just use a link to an online image where the font appears.

You will then need to identify the individual letters in the word or phrase in your image. What Font Is can present you with all results, or filter down to only free fonts or only fonts that can be used commercially.

The larger the characters are the better chance What Font Is has of identifying the font. A few tests with smaller images yielded inaccurate results.

4. WhatTheFont

whatthefont match similar fonts

WhatTheFont, from myfonts.com, is quick and easy to use. Drag your image into the browser window and it should automatically detect the text. If not—or if there’s more than one font in use—adjust the crop box to select the text you need.

Hit the Identify button to instantly see some font suggestions. Once you’ve got your results you can test them out with text of your own. Commercial fonts are included among the results, with no filter options.

If you like WhatTheFont, there’s a mobile app version for iOS and Android, too. You can use these to take photos to identify fonts in magazines or on billboard posters.

5. Font Matcherator

font matcherator

Font Matcherator is available from fontspring.com, and claims to be more powerful than its rivals.

It works with images you upload, or on any image from the web—you just need to know the URL. It works best with text on a plainer background. We found it struggled to auto-detect text on busier images.

When this happens you can crop in to the text manually, and home in on specific characters to improve the recommendations.

What we like about Font Matcherator is that it works with OpenType font features, including substitute glyphs. So if you’ve got handwritten fonts, for example, it should work well with them where other services may struggle.

6. Photoshop

match fonts in photoshop

All of these other services run in your web browser. But if you’ve got Photoshop you can just use that instead.

The benefit is that it doesn’t just work with online fonts (Typekit or Adobe Fonts, in this case), it can match those you’ve already got installed on your system. Given how easy it is to amass a huge collection of fonts—and how hard it can be to organize them—this is a really valuable feature.

To get started, open the image containing the font you want to match. Go to Type > Match Font. Then drag the crop box over a portion of the text, and wait for the results to appear in the Match Font dialog box.

How to Find More Free Fonts

While it’s always good to be inspired by typography you see in existing projects, when it comes to free fonts you aren’t short of choices.

For the best free web fonts, take a look at our guide to Google Fonts you can use in presentations. Alternatively, you can download hundreds of fonts from our pick of the best sites for free fonts.

Read the full article: How to Find Free Fonts Similar to Paid Fonts

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The 20 Best Fonts for Greeting Cards and Posters

Your choice of fonts can make or break your greeting cards or posters.

So, to help you get it right, here are 20 basic, geometric, whimsical, bold, and dingbat fonts that are guaranteed to add flair to your creations.

Basic Fonts

Simple and readable, a basic font is ideal for clear headlines or body text. You can’t go wrong with the likes of Helvetica and Futura, but here are a few more worth considering.

1. Public Sans

public sans

This open source font from the US government is clean, neutral, and familiar. It works almost anywhere, for headers or text.

2. Metropolis

metropolis font

Metropolis is a modern, minimalist sans-serif font that is a good option when you’re looking for an alternative to Helvetica.

3. Bodoni XT

bodoni xt

Whether you’re making inspirational posters, wedding invites, or Christmas cards, Bodoni XT will help bring a touch of class to your designs.

Geometric Fonts

Geometric fonts are simple, yet deliver a more distinctive look than you’ll get from basic fonts. They have rounded shapes, and modern, clean styles.

4. Equinox

equinox

Equinox is a minimal, sci-fi-inspired geometric font. It makes for a good alternative to Futura, although you need to be aware that it doesn’t contain any lowercase characters.

5. Gilmer

gilmer

Another clean and versatile geometric typeface, Gilmer also includes an outline font that will work on a variety of poster designs.

6. Fox and Cat

fox and cat font

Fox and Cat is a lovely, light typeface with both upper and lowercase characters. The quirky design is ideal for greeting cards, and the license even allows for commercial use.

7. Anders

anders font

This is a minimal yet very distinctive font that will bring a striking look to your posters, greeting cards, or anything else you’re working on.

Whimsical Fonts

When you want to inject a sense of fun or whimsy into your designs, something like a handwritten typeface is the go-to option. Here are some that will liven up your birthday cards and other projects.

8. Windsong

windsong font

This calligraphic script font is a popular choice thanks to its OpenType feature support that helps to achieve the authentic handwritten look.

9. Fabfelt

fabfelt

Fabfelt is a handwritten font with a more casual, retro feel. It’s available in OTF and TTF versions, and includes a full range of characters.

10. Janda Happy Day

janda happy day

Janda Happy Day is the definition of a whimsical font. The curly-styled characters are fun, yet it remains highly readable.

Bold Fonts

To create real impact, choose a bold font. They can be serif or sans-serif, condensed or handwritten. Either way, they pack a punch.

11. League Gothic

league gothic font

Inspired by vintage Gothic typefaces, League Gothic is a classic that works in a whole range of projects. It’s open source, too, so use it however you like.

12. Chunkfive

chunkfive

Chunkfive is indeed chunky; a serif font that makes a real impact. This slab font is best used on posters where you need to get your message across without fuss.

13. Brusher

Brusher

This bold, brush-lettered typeface offers impact without compromising on style. To download Brusher, you have to sign up for a free download link using your email address.

14. Zenfyrkalt

zenfyrkalt

Zenfyrkalt is a hand-drawn bold font with a truly unique style. It combines impact and whimsy and works for fun projects.

Dingbat Fonts

Dingbat fonts are an easy way for those of us who don’t have the greatest artistic skill to add some cute drawings to our creations.

15. Bella K Dings Are Cool

bella d wingdings

A large selection of shapes that are suitable for many projects on a whole range of subjects. The hand drawn style adds a nice touch.

16. Heart Doodles

heart doodles dingbats font

Heart Doodles has got everything you need to enhance your homemade Valentine’s Day cards, with its selection of heart-based shapes.

17. Mustache

mustache dingbats

There’s a dingbats font for every occasion. To prove the point, here’s a collection of 26 mustache styles, to cover all of your facial hair needs.

18. Pea Jelene’s Doodles

pea jelenes doodles

Pea Jelene’s Doodles are great for posters and greeting cards, and much more—a cake design, or the menu at a coffee shop, for example.

19. KG Christmas Tree Fonts

kg christmas tree fonts

Featuring over 50 Christmas trees and more, this font collection will add a seasonal touch to your Christmas cards and party posters.

20. MFT Itty Bitty Baby

IttyBitty

Finally, this baby-themed collection is the perfect accompaniment for baby showers, Congratulations cards, or even T-Shirt designs.

How to Get Even More Free Fonts

Do you want more free fonts for birthday cards, greeting cards, or posters? Take a look at our picks of the best websites for free fonts to see where you can get them.

Also, you can get your designs looking as professional as possible by making sure you always choose the right fonts for your projects. Our guide detailing how to pick the right font pairs will help get you started.

Read the full article: The 20 Best Fonts for Greeting Cards and Posters

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The Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

Adobe Illustrator is an incredibly powerful app, but it can be difficult to navigate. With so many menus and toolbars, it’s hard to find your way around. Fortunately, it offers a huge number of keyboard shortcuts to help speed up your workflow.

In this cheat sheet we’ve compiled some of the best Illustrator shortcuts, for both Windows and Mac. They’ll help you quickly find the most important tools and panels, work more efficiently with complex documents, and access some hidden features that will get you designing faster than ever.

FREE DOWNLOAD: This cheat sheet is available as a downloadable PDF from our distribution partner, TradePub. You will have to complete a short form to access it for the first time only. Download The Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet.

Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts

Shortcut (Win)Shortcut (Mac)Action
Basic Shortcuts
Ctrl + NCmd + NCreate new document
Alt + Ctrl + NOption + Cmd + NSkip New Document dialog box
Shift + Ctrl + NShift + Cmd + NCreate document from a template
Ctrl + SCmd + SSave document
Alt + Ctrl + EOption + Cmd + EExport document for screens
Alt + Shift + Ctrl + POption + Shift + Cmd + PPackage document
Ctrl + PCmd + PPrint
Ctrl + ZCmd + ZUndo
Shift + Ctrl + ZShift + Cmd + ZRedo
Ctrl + XCmd + XCut
Ctrl + CCmd + CCopy
Ctrl + VCmd + VPaste
Shift + Ctrl + BShift + Cmd + BPaste in place
Ctrl + FCmd + FPaste in front of selected item
Ctrl + BCmd + BPaste behind selected item
Shift + Ctrl + PShift + Cmd + PPlace an existing file into document
Ctrl + LCmd + LAdd new layer
Alt + Ctrl + LOption + Cmd + LAdd new layer with the New Layer dialog box
Alt + Click layer nameOption + Click layer nameSelect all objects on a layer
Alt + Click Eye iconOption + Click Eye iconShow or hide all other layers
Alt + Click Lock iconOption + Click Lock iconLock or unlock all other layers
View Shortcuts
FFSwitch between screen modes
(Normal, Full Screen, etc.)
EscEscExit Full Screen mode
Shift + Ctrl + HShift + Cmd + HShow or hide artboards
Ctrl + RCmd + RShow or hide rulers
Ctrl + UCmd + UShow or hide smart guides
Ctrl + 'Cmd + 'Show or hide grid
Shift + Ctrl + 'Shift + Cmd + 'Turn Snap to Grid on or off
Alt + Ctrl + 'Option + Cmd + 'Turn Snap to Point on or off
Ctrl + =Cmd + =Zoom in
Ctrl + -Cmd + -Zoom out
Ctrl + 0Cmd + 0Fit to window
Ctrl + 1Cmd + 1View actual size
Tool Shortcuts
Double clickDouble clickView settings for selected tool
HHHand tool
SpacebarSpacebarUse Hand tool when not entering text
Ctrl + SpacebarCmd + SpacebarUse Hand tool while entering text
VVSelection tool
AADirect Selection tool
YYMagic Wand tool
QQLasso tool
PPPen tool
++Add anchor point
--Delete anchor point
Shift + CShift + CAnchor Point tool
Shift + ~Shift + ~Curvature tool
TTType tool
Shift + TShift + TTouch Type tool
Line Segment tool
MMRectangle tool
LLEllipse tool
BBPaintbrush tool
Shift + BShift + BBlob Brush tool
NNPencil tool
Shift + NShift + NShaper tool
Shift + EShift + EEraser tool
CCScissors tool
RRRotate tool
OOReflect tool
SSScale tool
Shift + WShift + WWidth tool
Shift + RShift + RWarp tool
EEFree Transform tool
Shift + MShift + MShape Builder tool
KKLive Paint Bucket
Shift + LShift + LLive Paint Bucket Selection tool
Shift + PShift + PPerspective Grid tool
Shift + VShift + VPerspective Selection tool
UUMesh tool
GGGradient tool
IIEyedropper tool
WWBlend tool
Shift + SShift + SSymbol Sprayer tool
JJColumn Graph tool
Shift + OShift + OArtboard tool
EscEscExit Artboard tool mode
Shift + KShift + KSlice tool
ZZZoom tool
Ctrl + 1Cmd + 1Magnify 100 percent
XXFill
Shift XShift XSwap fill and stroke styles
Selection Shortcuts
Shift + ClickShift + ClickSelect multiple objects
Ctrl + ACmd + ASelect all
Shift + Ctrl + AShift + Cmd + ADeselect all
Ctrl + 6Cmd + 6Reselect
Ctrl + GCmd + GGroup objects
Alt + Ctrl + ]Option + Cmd + ]Select object above current selection
Alt + Ctrl + [Option + Cmd + [Select object below current selection
Ctrl + Double clickCmd + Double clickSelect object behind
Arrow keysArrow keysMove selection
Shift + Arrow keysShift + Arrow keysMove selection 10 points
Alt + dragOption + dragDuplicate selection
Shift + Ctrl + BShift + Cmd + BHide bounding box for selected item
Alt + Shift + Ctrl + 3Option + Shift + Cmd + 3Hide unselected items
Shift + Ctrl + OShift + Cmd + OCreate outlines from type
Editing Tools Shortcuts
Shift + Drag handlebarsShift + Drag handlebarsExpand or shrink object proportionally
Spacebar + DragSpacebar + DragMove and position shape while drawing it
]]Increase size of brush, text, etc.
[[Decrease size of brush, text, etc.
AltOptionDraw shape starting from its center
Shift (when drawing or rotating)Shift (when drawing or rotating)Snap line or object to vertical, horizontal, or diagonal position
Ctrl + 7Cmd + 7Create clipping mask
Alt + Ctrl + 7Option + Cmd + 7Remove clipping mask
XXSwitch between stroke and fill
DDRevert stroke and fill to default settings
//Set no stroke or fill
Ctrl + /Cmd + /Add new fill
Alt + Ctrl + /Option + Cmd + /Add new stroke
Shift + Eyedropper toolShift + Eyedropper toolSample color from an image
Ctrl + ICmd + ICheck spelling
Panels Shortcuts
TabTabShow or hide all panels
Shift + F7Shift + F7Align panel
Shift + F6Shift + F6Appearance panel
Ctrl + F11Cmd + F11Attributes panel
F5F5Brushes panel
F6F6Color panel
Shift + F3Shift + F3Color Guide panel
Ctrl + F9Cmd + F9Gradient panel
Shift + F5Shift + F5Graphic Styles panel
Ctrl + F8Cmd + F8Info panel
F7F7Layers panel
Shift + Ctrl + F9Shift + Cmd + F9Pathfinder panel
Ctrl + F10Cmd + F10Stroke panel
Shift + Ctrl + F11Shift + Cmd + F11Symbols panel
Shift + F8Shift + F8Transform panel
Shift + Ctrl + F10Shift + Cmd + F10Transparency panel

Useful Illustrator Tips and Templates

Learning the shortcuts above will help to make graphic design with Adobe Illustrator a whole lot easier. But that’s only the beginning. Check out our guide to the best free Illustrator templates, as well as these essential Illustrator tips to help you design faster.

Image Credit: NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Read the full article: The Adobe Illustrator Keyboard Shortcuts Cheat Sheet

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How to Use the Color Picker and Paint Bucket in Procreate

Most drawing and design apps have an eyedropper and paint bucket tool. These tools make it easy to select a color that’s already on your screen and fill an image.

The iPad drawing app Procreate has similar tools, but they’re not that obvious at first glance.

Still, with a little guidance, you’ll be able to use Procreate’s color tools with confidence. And by using Procreate’s color picker and paint bucket together, you can speed up your coloring process.

How to Use Procreate’s Color Picker

There’s a variety of situations that call for Procreate’s color picker. For instance, you could pull a color from an image you’re using as a reference. You might also want to reuse a color that you’ve already used in your image.

To select a color to work with, follow these steps:

  1. Press and hold down with your finger where you want to pull the color from.
  2. You’ll see a circle take on your color.
  3. Wait for the color to appear in the color selection tool in the top-right corner of the screen.
  4. You now have access to the selected color.

How to Create a Palette With Color Picker

While color picker is useful on its own, there are creative applications. As an example, we’ll go over how to create a color palette. This way you’ll have quick access to your most-used colors without disrupting your workflow.

First, you should create a separate layer to house your palette colors for color picker. Just follow these steps:

  1. Tap on the layers tool to the left of the color selection tool.
  2. Next, tap the + icon to create a new layer.
  3. Then tap on the new layer to bring up options.
  4. Select Rename.
  5. Rename your layer to Palette (or anything you want).

Once you’ve created your layer, it’s time to lay out your colors. Using the color picker tool, follow the same steps as before to acquire the color. Afterwards, draw a tiny color swatch for your palette.

Repeat the same steps until you have as many colors needed for your palette. Once finished, you can simply delete the palette layer.

How to Fill on Procreate via Paint Bucket

Once you have your color picked, it’s time to figure out how to fill on Procreate. By using Procreate’s paint bucket tool, you can fill in a shape with a color.

Remember the color selection tool in the top-right corner? Tap and hold down on that circle with your Apple Pencil, stylus, or finger. Then drag the color to the shape you want to fill in and release.

If you’re filling a particularly small shape, it helps to zoom in or to use the Apple Pencil for more precision. Also, remember that the paint bucket tool works with complete objects. If your lines aren’t completely joined, you will find that the color fills the entire canvas.

Use Procreate’s Color Picker and Paint Bucket

Procreate really shines on the iPad Pro, but you can use the Apple Pencil with the sixth generation 2018 iPad. It makes the app far more accessible and affordable for people who don’t want to buy a new tablet.

Do you need more color advice? Use these apps to find the best color schemes, matches, and palettes.

Read the full article: How to Use the Color Picker and Paint Bucket in Procreate

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How to Crop Images Using Shapes in Photoshop

Have you wondered how a photo is cut up into a specific shape? Or how a shape is filled with a photo instead of a color in Adobe Photoshop? This common effect is easy to achieve with a Clipping Mask.

The final image looks like a cutout, but you don’t have to crop the picture irreversibly. Instead, you just have to manipulate the layers to get the effect.

How to Crop to a Shape With a Clipping Mask

One of Photoshop’s handiest tools is the Clipping Mask. Buried in the complicated program’s layers, you can use this tool to create a frame for an image, revealing only the part of the image you want to display.

Here’s an example of the final image:

An example of a clipping mask in Photoshop with Shapes

This can be a great way to focus on an image with a shape in Photoshop without cropping the actual image. Follow these simple steps with a new transparent image or one with a background color.

1. Select the shape of your choice. Go to Photoshop’s Shapes tool located in the Tools bar on the left. You can choose from a rectangle, ellipse, rounded rectangle, or polygon, or create a custom shape.

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be using an ellipse. After selecting the shape, you can draw the shape one of two ways. You can either drag the cursor across the canvas to create the ellipse.

Adobe Photoshop Shapes tool

2. Holding down the Shift key will allow you to create a perfect circle when using the ellipse, or a perfect square when using the rectangle. Alternatively, you could just click anywhere on the canvas and type in the exact dimensions of the shape you want to create.

3. For the purpose of this tutorial, let’s create a black circle so it’s easy to see on the canvas. The color is only important for you to see the shape as whatever color you choose will be completely covered by the image.

Drawing the circle shape in Adobe Photoshop

4. Next, insert the image you want to be framed by that shape. To do so go to File > Place Embedded, and navigate to where the image file is saved on your computer.

Doing it this way, rather than copying and pasting, allows you to manipulate the image in Photoshop without making irreversible changes to the original file.

Selecting Place Embedded in the Photoshop menu

5. Browse to the image on your computer and upload it. Hit Enter and it will create a new layer on your canvas.

You’ll notice that Photoshop will restrict the size of the image to the boundaries of your canvas even if it’s a larger image. You can adjust the size of the image in the active layer with Free Transform. Go to Edit > Free Transform or press the shortcut Ctrl+T.

6. Then use the corner handles to adjust the size of the image. Press Shift and drag the handles to preserve the aspect ratio of the image.

Using Free Transform in Photoshop to adjust the size of an image

7. Go to the Layers panel. Right-click on the image layer of the vintage photo and click Create clipping mask.

Right click and click on Create Clipping Mask in Photoshop

8. You will see the borders of the image restricted to the circle shape. Now, move your shape around, make it bigger or smaller with the Free Transform tool, and show only the precise part of the image you want to show.

You can use Clipping Masks and a similar method to fill any text with an image too.

How to Crop Images With Custom Shapes

The Custom Shapes palette in Photoshop gives you more options to experiment and place a photo within any shape. For instance, you can use a three-dimensional shape like a box and make a photo “wrap” around it.

Read our other article to learn more about how to use the Custom Shape tool in Photoshop.

Read the full article: How to Crop Images Using Shapes in Photoshop

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The 5 Best Linux Distros for Artists, Musicians, and Editors

Installing a single video editor or drawing package is easy enough, but what if you need an entire operating system geared towards creativity?

You might be happy with proprietary systems from Apple or Microsoft. But if you’re on a budget, are passionate about open source software, or just want the widest choice, consider Linux. Countless image editors, manipulation tools, digital audio workstations (DAWs) and more are available for Linux, making it a creative paradise.

Let’s look at the best Linux distros for video editing, music production, graphic design and more.

Reasons to Use a Creative Linux Operating System

Don’t be mistaken: these distributions are not merely collections of apps slapped together. Mostly optimized for multimedia-related tasks from the ground up, they can:

  • Offer low-latency or real-time kernels, and use the “deadline” IO scheduler to minimize delays in processing system requests and tasks
  • Use a lightweight desktop environment and optimize swap settings to conserve RAM for resource-hungry activities like 3D rendering
  • Provide a complete JACK setup out-of-the-box
  • Include tools for monitor calibration, and support various devices (graphics tablets, scanners, MIDI keyboards, microphones…)

So using a Linux creative distro for musicians, video editors, artists, etc., has disadvantages and advantages.

Disadvantages:

  • Usually maintained by a small team or single person
  • Risk of being discontinued
  • Poor documentation
  • Lower level of support

Advantages:

  • Based on stable distros like Debian and Ubuntu LTS
  • Can find help for most problems on the parent OS forum
  • Can still work even if they haven’t been updated

Now you know what to expect, let’s glimpse into the colorful world of Linux distributions for multimedia production.

1. Best DTP and Image Editing Distro: Fedora Design Suite

Fedora Design Suite is brought to you by the official design team that creates all Fedora-related artwork. It’s a collection of tried-and-true apps that you can download and install as an independent version of Fedora.

The Design Suite inherits features from the main Fedora release, including the Gnome desktop environment.

The default selection of apps is modest and leans in favor of image editing and desktop publishing software. Fedora Design Suite doesn’t overwhelm with a huge selection of apps and tools—perfect for artists just starting with Linux.

Highlights: Fedora Design Suite does a great job of introducing you to Linux graphic design via its extensive list of tutorials. You’ll find this in the main Applications menu, along with bundled software.

Look out for Entangle, a fantastic app that lets you control a digital camera from your computer.

2. Best All-Round Linux Creativity Suite: Ubuntu Studio

Probably the most popular multimedia Linux distro, Ubuntu Studio has been a part of Ubuntu family since 2007. There’s a lot to love about this distribution. It offers a rich catalogue of software and a bunch of stylish fonts installed by default.

For Linux music production it features a low-latency kernel and helpful JACK tweaks. For example, Ubuntu Studio makes it possible to use Pulse Audio and JACK simultaneously.

The default desktop environment is Xfce and like its Ubuntu cousins, Studio is simple to use. Should you require more apps, they’re only a few clicks away in the repositories and PPAs.

Highlights: Among the most interesting apps is Synfig Studio in which you can make your own high-quality 2D animations.

Ubuntu Studio offers more than just one app for every category. You’ll find both Darktable and Rawtherapee for RAW photo editing, and Kdenlive, Pitivi, and one of the best Linux video editing tools, Openshot. Among the long list of audio tools you’ll find DAWs like Ardour and Rosegarden.

3. Best Linux OS for Music Production: AVLinux

If you’re serious about making music with Linux, AVLinux is for you. Like other multimedia distros, it offers a bit of everything, but the focus is on sound editing and production. AVLinux is based on Debian and is described as “a turnkey AV content creation system pre-configured and ready to ‘Install and Create’.”

Highlights: With a low-latency kernel, JACK audio/MIDI environment with PulseAudio integration, and KXStudio repositories, AVLinux is the top Linux music and audio distro. There’s also support for a sister project, AVL Drumkits.

4. Every Video, Image, and Audio Tool: Apodio

Apodio Linux distro for music production

Apodio’s website looks like it’s seen better days and the documentation is sparse. Yet Apodio is a still-maintained project, currently in its 12th iteration. Previously based on Mandriva, now it runs Ubuntu under the hood, and sports a simple and welcoming Xfce desktop.

What it lacks in documentation, Apodio absolutely makes up for in software quantity, and then some. With an ISO image of almost 4GB, Apodio probably has every multimedia app you’ll ever need, and they’re all neatly categorized in the main menu.

Highlights: As expected, most apps are sound-related, but you won’t be disappointed if you’re a photographer, filmmaker, or animator. Apodio has three different desktop recorders, so you can also use it for screencasting.

One of the coolest apps is Stopmotion, which can capture input directly from cameras (including your webcam) and help you create wonderful time-lapse photography.

5. Best Linux Distro for Video Editing: io GNU/Linux

io GNU/Linux is a refreshing collage of apps and developer choices. It’s based on Debian and uses the Enlightenment desktop environment, with a few KDE apps thrown into the mix. The software collection is massive, and you can choose between a regular and a real-time kernel.

Unusually, io GNU/Linux is to be one of those distros you can run from a USB drive. Instead of regular installation, the idea is to use io GNU/Linux in “persistence mode”, which means copying the distribution to a portable drive so that you can work in it on any computer.

Highlights: io GNU/Linux strikes a fair balance by offering the classics (Openshot, LiVES, Guitarix, Rakkarack, LMMS, MyPaint) alongside useful undiscovered apps.

You’ll find things like sound visualizers, fractal generators, and Flowblade. This is a multi-track video editing tool with a timeline, options for trimming and compositing, and plenty of audio and video filters.

Creative Linux Distros for Editing Music, Video, Images, and More

Alongside already supported free software, more proprietary apps for digital art professionals are becoming available on Linux. It’s no secret that Pixar and DreamWorks have used Linux in their projects—there’s no reason you shouldn’t follow suit.

We’ve looked at:

  • Fedora Desktop Suite
  • Ubuntu Studio
  • AVLinux
  • Apodio
  • io GNU/Linux

You don’t have to use a dedicated creative distro, however. Most of the tools can be installed on a standard Linux operating system. But which one? Check our list of the best Linux operating systems to find one you like.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Linux Distros for Artists, Musicians, and Editors

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Font-Pairing Strategies and Tools for Perfect Font Combinations

Your choice of fonts sets the tone for how your document, website, or other design looks. Is it fun and friendly, slick and creative, or serious and formal?

As a general rule you’ll want to use two or three fonts in your project. But how do you know which to choose, and what font pairs go well together?

In this article, we’ll discuss font-pairing strategies and tools that will help you find the perfect font combinations to use in your project.

A Typography Primer

There are terms we use throughout this guide that might be helpful to explain…

Font vs. Typeface

The terms font and typeface are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually different things. A typeface is a family of fonts; a font is one of the individual style variations within that family. So, Times New Roman is a typeface, and Times New Roman Regular and Times New Roman Medium Italic are fonts.

Type Classifications

Type Classifications are categories of fonts based on their appearance. A few classifications include:

  • Serif
  • Sans-serif
  • Gothic
  • Typewriter
  • Script
  • Decorative

These are simply the categories of types that you’ll find on various type websites, foundries, and more. A good starting point for picking fonts is to choose a classification that’s appropriate for your project and its subject.

Serif vs. Sans-Serif

One of the most common classifications for typefaces is serif versus sans-serif. Not sure what the difference is? A serif font has fine lines at the tips of the letters. A sans-serif font doesn’t have any extending features.

difference between serif and sans-serif font

Superfamilies

Superfamilies are a group of typefaces that fall under several classifications. The typeface will start with the same basic shape and then will have elements added to it to fit a specific classification. A common example of a superfamily is the Lucida Superfamily.

Also, if you’re interested in the technical aspect of fonts, you can read about the difference between OTF and TTF fonts.

Choosing Your First Typeface

Some typefaces make things a little easier by seeming to have only one purpose in life. If you’re considering Copperplate Gothic, you’re probably designing a steakhouse menu or something to do with a bank.

copperplate font pairing

Unfortunately, it’s rarely that easy. If you’re having trouble finding an appropriate candidate, consider doing a little research. Look for examples that can help point you in the right direction.

Remember, you’re not looking to copy, you’re looking for inspiration. The chances are someone has solved this problem before, and their solution could help inform yours.

Once you’ve chosen that first typeface, it’s time to think about its complement.

Picking a Font Pairing

There are plenty of guidelines for figuring out which fonts pair well together. Some of these guidelines can be combined, and others contradict one another.

While there are some things that should absolutely be avoided when it comes to font pairing (like using way too many fonts), there are other guidelines that are more flexible, and depend largely on the mood or purpose of your design.

Here are a few to keep in mind.

1. Create Contrast

“Opposites attract” is definitely true when it comes to fonts. You don’t want to use options that are too similar. It either simply won’t add anything to your design or it will look slightly off.

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations sketch handwritten fonts

Instead, pair a swirly font with a bold one. Pair a light and airy font with a thick one. Hook your serif typeface up with an elegant, cursive option. Pair a slab serif with a handwriting font, like in the example above.

Or combine narrow with wide—a good font pairing for Copperplate is something thinner like Helvetica Condensed.

2. Keep It In the Family

One of the easiest things you can do is to simply limit your choices to one typeface and vary the fonts by changing the size, weight, or slant. This might not be the most creative choice, but it’s the simplest way to create a bit of diversity with your text.

Some typefaces have a pretty extensive set of fonts. Bebas Neue, for example, comes in a variety of weights. Combine Bebas Neue Bold with Bebas Neue Light in different sizes and you’re one step closer to a great design.

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations bebas neue

While Bebas Neue is a capitals-only typeface, you can also play around with capitalization as a way to add some interest to your design.

If you want a little more variety, but find that keeping it in the family works best for you, look for superfamilies. The Lucida Superfamily includes Sans, Serif, Typewriter Sans, Typewriter Serif, Math, and other typefaces.

3. Combine Serifs and Sans-Serifs

A quick and effective way to create contrast is to pair a serif font with a sans-serif font. As you can see in the example below a good Calibri font pairing is a serif font like Times New Roman:

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations sans with serif

One of the easiest ways to select complementary serif and sans-serif options is to keep it in the superfamily. Viget provides an extensive list of superfamilies that can be useful, and ensures your fonts complement one another.

4. Limit Yourself to Two or Three Fonts

You’ll be hard pressed to find a professional designer who doesn’t live by this cardinal rule of typography. If you’re combining fonts, you’ll want to limit yourself to two or three.

If your design contains a header, subheader, and body, you can use three different fonts. You’ll probably want to stick to just two if your design is less text-heavy.

There are exceptions to the rule, but only in very particular kinds of design.

Font-Pairing Inspiration and Ideas

Finally, if you still find the idea of pairing fonts daunting, there are plenty of font-pairing tools out there to help you make sure little Calibri doesn’t end up running with a bad crowd.

Canva’s Font Combinations

Canva’s Font Combinations lets you select your first choice and makes suggestions on what its partner should be. It uses the fonts available through the Canva design tool, so some common typefaces are not included.

canva font pairs

Typ.io

The Typ.io website is divided into two sections. The first section features font combinations from around the web as a source of inspiration. The other section features lists of fonts that pair well together based on the function, such as whether they will be used for header or body text.

typio font pairs

Just My Type

If you find yourself designing in the Adobe suite of programs, Just My Type will come in very handy. The site offers pairing suggestions for Adobe’s Typekit fonts as well as from Hoefler and Co’s Cloud Typography service.

Hoefler and Co. also has a really handy guide on picking “font palettes” They recommend combining fonts from the same historical period with different features or similar line quality with different textures. The font suggestions come from Hoefler and Co., but you can apply the rules to other fonts.

justmytype font suggestions

Pinterest

As with most things visual, Pinterest is a great source of font-pairing inspiration. Just search for “font pairing” or “typography” and you’ll find a ton of great suggestions.

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations pinterest

Type Connection

Make a game of pairing fonts with Type Connection. The website lets you choose your first font, and selecting your second becomes something of a “choose your own adventure.”

Do you want to go with something that comes from the same family, a similar font, a contrasting font, or dip into the past?

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations typeconnection

Google Type

If your font source of choice is Google Fonts, Google Type is a great source of inspiration for how these fonts pair well together. Using text from Aesop’s Fables and photos from Unsplash, the site is a visual inspiration for how Google Fonts play well together.

google type font pairing

Font Pair is another handy tool for Google Web font users, making suggestions for header and body font choices that pair well.

Typespiration

Typespiration gives you ideas not only for how to combine fonts, but also throws in color schemes for good measure. It’s especially good for web design, as the samples give you an idea of what your articles will look like using certain combinations.

font pairing typestation

Web Font Blender

Web Font Blender doesn’t make the suggestions for you, but it allows you to play around with different Google Fonts and preview them with sample heading, subheading, and body text. As a bonus, it generates the CSS you would need to use these fonts in an online design.

strategies and tools for perfect font combinations web font blender

Find the Right Fonts

So now you know what to look for when choosing the fonts for your project. But what’s the best place to find those fonts to use?

Our guide to the best Google fonts will help you find some fantastic free fonts for websites and presentations.

And if you want an even bigger range to choose from, check out our list of the best websites to download and use free fonts.

Image Credit: mrdoomits/Depositphotos

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