Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Label Planet TEMPLATE TUESDAY: Designing A Label Template – Tackling Text-Only Templates


This week on Template Tuesday, we’re looking at ways to create text-only templates more efficiently. While text-only templates are perhaps the simplest kind of label design, there are still plenty of ways that you can create highly decorative and imaginative label designs.

It all comes down to “TYPOGRAPHY”; the art and technique of arranging type to make written language more legible, readable, and attractive in appearance.

The most drastic change you can make to text is to select a different font or “typeface” (e.g. Calibri, Tahoma, Arial, Times New Roman etc); alternatively, you can make smaller formatting changes to that typeface, such as changing the size, colour, or style (e.g. bold, italic etc). You can also emphasise particular sections of text by using upper and/or lower case letters, using contrasting colours for the text and its background, or playing around with how the characters are distributed in a line of text and how that line is aligned. Some software will also offer design tools such as preset “text effects” that you can use to further enhance the appearance of your text.

Word is an example of Word Processing software; it is specifically designed for creating and editing text, which means that it offers plenty of design options when it comes to getting creative with a text-only template. Most of the design options relating to text and fonts are listed under the “Home” tab at the top of the page within the sections “Font”, “Paragraph”, and “Styles”.

The font section contains design options relating to the typeface and font settings, the paragraph section contains options relating to the alignment of text (also known as “justification”), line spacing, and options for adding a border and coloured background to a section of text. Finally, the styles section contains a number of preset style options that you can use to assign a particular appearance and layout to a section of text.

To change any of the font settings for a section of text, you simply need to select the text you want to change and then left click on the option for the font setting you want to change. As a top tip, you can left click on the small diagonal arrow in the bottom right corner of a section to bring up a pop up box that contains all of the font options available(see above); this is particularly useful for the “Font” section as the pop up box contains a small preview section that allows you to see what the font options you are choosing will look like before you make your selection.

Obviously, we can’t discuss Word and text without mentioning WordArt – beloved by pupils and students across the country for the endless hours you can spend perfecting the title of your latest piece of homework (while conveniently putting off working on any actual content).

While WordArt still exists, you can use pretty much all of the same design tools for standard text as you can for text that you add via the WordArt tool. The key benefits of using WordArt (or a text box) are that you have a few more design choices for the text and the border around/background behind that text AND that it places your text within one object that you can move around, reposition, and resize as you wish (making it easier to position different bits of text relative to one another and any other items that you want to include in your design).

To add WordArt or a text box, you simply need to click on the “Insert” tab at the top of the page and select “WordArt” or “Text Box”; to add one of these items, you need to select from one of the preset options – don’t worry if you aren’t sure which one to pick or if you don’t like any of the options available as you can change the formatting of the item after you have added it to your template.

The design tools for WordArt and Text Boxes are the same and are called “Drawing Tools ”; to view these tools you need to select the item by left clicking on it once – this will bring up a “Drawing Tools Format” tab at the top of the page that contains all of the tools that you can use to change the appearance of your WordArt or Text Box. The design tools that change the appearance of the border and background of the WordArt/Text Box are listed in the “Shape Styles” section and those that change the appearance of the text itself are listed in the “WordArt Styles” section.

It might sound obvious but to change the font settings for a particular bit of text you must first SELECT the text you want to change. This could mean highlighting a particular section of text (position your cursor at the start of the text, then click and hold down your left button as you move your cursor to the end of the text, and release the button) or selecting a piece of WordArt or a text box (left click on the item once).

When working with label templates you can save yourself some time by selecting an entire label (position your cursor in the bottom left corner of the cell and quickly triple click the left button on your mouse) or the entire template (left click once on the four headed arrow that appears at the top left corner of the template) before changing your font settings; this will apply any settings you choose to any text that you add to that label or the entire template.

If you want to use different font settings for different sections of text within your label design, you should set up your label design in the top left label and then use copy and paste to transfer your design into the rest of the template – remember to select the entire label and not just the content within the label, so that when you press copy you will copy both the content AND the formatting settings you have selected (position your cursor in the bottom left corner of the cell and quickly triple click the left button on your mouse).

Next week on Template Tuesday: Designing A Label Template – Getting Inventive With Image-Only Templates