Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Vinyl Cutting Fonts: Clean Cut, No Jagged Edges & Easy Weeding for Cricut, Silhouette SD & ALL Vinyl Cutting Machines
Finding well-designed, clean cutting fonts is no easy task. Even when you're paying good money for quality fonts you can run acoss some that the font designer did not take the time to "clean" which means ugly jagged edges for you. Here's Why:
A vinyl cutting machine will only cut vector graphics - even if it accepts JPGS it will convert the image into a vector using it's own auto-trace program embedded in its software. A vector image is made up of points and your machine cuts along those points. Too many points equals jagged edges. The fewer the points, the cleaner the cut is. Usually you can get away with cutting anything small-scale but as soon as you need to cut two or three foot tall graphics, clean graphics become paramount.
The WORST offenders with jagged edges are free fonts and dingbats. I'm sorry to tell you that but that's why they're free. Occasionally you'll find one or two free fonts that are clean but they're few and far between. Fonts that cost less than $10 are usually similar to free fonts in that they're not cleaned up and have too many points. Around the $15-$19 range you begin to find fonts that are crisp, clean and excellent for cutting. So what is a gal with a vinyl cutter supposed to do?
I have compiled a short list of some of my favorite clean cutting fonts with links to MyFonts.com where you can buy them legally. You won't find any free font downloads here (remember those free fonts are choppy) but if you want to download some free SVG files for your Cricut or Silhouette you can click HERE! This is by no means all the fonts that cut well but these are fonts I have personally used or have seen cut cleanly on a vinyl cutting machine.
WARNING: Vinyl cutting machines do NOT accept Open Type fonts. You MUST buy True Type fonts if you wish to cut them on your machine! Click on "Buying Options" at MyFonts.com to select to buy True Type fonts. Some fonts only come as Open Type or will include both True Type & Open Type. Install the True Type only.
Also: Make sure the font you are buying has a commercial license if you are going to sell any vinyl lettering. (And if you have a machine, believe me you will - even if only to friends & family!)
Cute & Crafty Fonts:
Tweedledee: Reliable cutting & weeding, even at TINY sizes
Hayseed: Cute, thick & awesome at all sizes
Sweetheart Script: Adorable scripty font that cuts clean & is great for names & monograms
Just About EVERYTHING from Ronna Penner: She's my go-to font designer for cute, crafty fonts that I know will cut well!
Just About Everything from Filmotype: Another vinyl cutting machine-friendly foundry! (Check for True Type font options first though!)
Scripty & Monogram Fonts: These fonts are all available in True Type
Corinthia: A very popular favorite
Passions Conflict: Bet you've seen it & loved it!
Lovers Quarrel: A sister font to Passions Conflict that's gorgeous, too
Inspiration: Used to exhaustion but it's always a favorite!
Mea Culpa: Loopy, Extra-Fancy Capitals
Just About Everything from TypeSETit: A wonderful foundry that offers stunning, scripty fonts in both Open Type & True Type but you MUST select the correct option under "Buying Choices" when you add the font to your cart!
Click HERE to view my blog post about welding monogram letters to make interlocking, single-piece vinyl monograms that cut as one continuous sticker
But HOW do some people cut Open Type fonts on their Silhouette SD machine?
They use a second software, like photoshop, to type the text onto a blank page and save it in JPG format that their Silhouette Original or Silhouette SD software can import & auto-trace. Voila! Problem solved! (This, however, is why you should water-mark JPG images on your site. You may inadvertantly be supplying your competitors with your entire catalog of graphics!) HINT: Silhouettes cannot import colored JPGs - only black & white ones - so coloring & watermarking your example images solves this problem!
Tay, how do YOU get the same jagged, messy font to cut so clean in the designs you sell online?
The short answer: LOTS of time! Let me explain. Anything in vector format can be edited & cleaned up if you have hours you're willing to spend doing it. Even messy fonts that have a look you like can be cleaned up. Here's a perfect example:
The "m" on the left is typed in the original font. The "m" on the right has been hand-edited by me to remove excess vector points, smooth out curves and make it much more clean cutting without losing the cute feel of the parent font. My edited m can now be cut at huge sizes whereas the flaws of the original letter form would become exaggerated & obvious if cut larger than a few inches tall. It takes 10-20 minutes per letter to correct these types of things (and then a bit longer for me to do my personal 3-step optimizing for superior vinyl cutting before I offer the graphic for sale at PeppermintCreative.com) but to me it's worth the time investment up front to have a design that will cut cleanly for the rest of its life!
Okay Tay, HOW do you clean up dingbat shapes you use?
I don't. Dingbats are infuriating to me so I don't use them. Insead I have a digital drawing tablet and years of practice as a cartoonist & advertising designer so I draw my shapes directly into my computer and then optimize them for vinyl cutting. I know not everyone can do this but that's why I design and give so much stuff away for free!
Click here to download FREE SVG designs, shapes & Graphics for your Cricut with Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL) vinyl cutting machine!
Click here to download FREE GSD designs, shapes & graphics for your Silhouette SD vinyl cutting machine!
* Freebies are updated every 4 weeks! Check PeppermintCreative.com often & grow your business for FREE!
If you don't see the freebies listed on the front page, click on the "WordArt" heading written in hot pink above and click through the designs until you find the ones marked with "FREE" in hot pink in the price section!
Can I use freebies I download to cut vinyl to sell?
Yes, please do! That's what Commercial Freebies are for! (Freebies under the Digital Die Cutting section are for personal use.) You can cut as much vinyl as you want for as long as you want and make as much money as you want using the freebie design without ever paying a thing! Just please do not sell the digital graphic file itself. :)
I love what I do and I share my talent & gratitude by giving dozens of designs away to hopefully better the vinyl cutting experiences of others! I appreciate the work of font designers and will gladly supply font names & buying links for any of the fonts I use - just e-mail me. A font designer who is paid for their work will make more new fonts for all of us to enjoy!