9 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2010 5:50 AM by Asbjørn K. Iden

    How do I get correct text size in MM

    Gall666

      Hi all

       

      (Illustrator CS4)

      One thing has been puzzling me while using Illustrator. If I am given a job and it says the text needs to be 2mm high how do I do this? If I type 2mm into the character tool the size of the text when turned into paths is actually 1.444 mm?! Is there any way of getting text in exact mm without guess work!

       

      Regards

       

      Matthew

        • 1. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
          JETalmage Level 6
          One thing has been puzzling me while using Illustrator.

          It's not a peculiarity to Illustrator. It is a widespread misconception about type.

           

          If I am given a job and it says the text needs to be 2mm high how do I do this?

          No one knows. Because the job that says such a thing has failed to define what it means by "2mm high". In the vast majority of typefaces, the glyphs are not all the same height. So what do you want to use as your "2mm" standard, Mr. Job?

           

          Which glyph, Mr. Job, do you insist on being "2mm high"?

           

          Which glyph of which font, Mr. Job, do you insist on being "2mm high"?

           

          Because of its affinity with the sign trade, CorelDraw does include a feature that lets you define type size according to cap height. But even after using that feature, one can find instances of glyphs within the text which do not measure the specified value. This is all dependent upon the specific font.

           

          Aside from such features in Draw and other sign-oriented programs, though, whenever you specify 2mm type in current software (including Draw, when sizing type normally), you do in fact get 2mm type--according to the way type is properly measured.

           

          People like Mr. Job think they are being so precise, so astute, when they "spec" type that way. It really just reveals their ignorance about type. Specifying type by a given cap height, without answering the questions above really specifies absolutely nothing pertinent to the legibility or readability of the type. Type glyphs which measure "12 pt high" type in one typeface can be entirely different in terms of readability and legibility from "12 pt. high" type in another.

           

          If I type 2mm into the character tool the size of the text when turned into paths is actually 1.444 mm?!

          That may or may not be true, depending on which glyph of which font you are measuring. But the measure you specify is not meaningless. When you type 2mm into the character size field, you do indeed get 2 mm type. 2mm type is type which measures 2mm across its em square. And that is true of any font. The em square is the "design space" of type. The various outlines of a given font are drawn in reference to that space. That provides the flexibility necessary for proper type design.

           

          Mr. Job either needs to learn something about type, or he needs to leave the readability/legibility problem up to someone who knows something about type. Why does Mr. Job hire the sign designer in the first place?

           

          Is there any way of getting text in exact mm without guess work!

           

          The collection of AI Javascripts described on this page contains a script named JET_SetCapHeight.jsx:

           

           

          Feel free to share the above comments with Mr. Job. That way, he can blame me, not you.

           

          JET

          • 2. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
            Gall666 Level 1

            Thanks JET! So it wasn't my fault after all!

            • 3. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
              Jens Peermann Level 2

              JET is right when he says the customer is ignorant about fonts. Knowing that, however, won't solve your problem, though. Particularly since the vast majority of customers is ignorant about fonts and this situation might repeat itself. Here's what I'd do.

               

              Type a word in capitals with the font the customer specified. Change to the selection tool so a border with handles appears around the word.

               

              Change the units of the rulers to millimeters (Control-Click [Mac] or Right-Click [PC] on the ruler and select millimeters from the context menu) and place two horizontal guides 2mm apart. Move the word between those guides and resize it to fit right in between them. Change the ruler units back to points and look up the font's size. That is the size in points you want to use for this particular font to get it 2mm high.

               

              If you change the font you will have to repeat this procedure because a given size in points for one font is not the same for another font (except by coincidence).

               

              Hope this helps.

              • 4. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

                I was going to give a long post about they why's and why's of type design.

                 

                Type faces are all designed with different proportions and no two fonts are probably exactly alike so you have to consider how the sit on the baseline

                unless you are using one font and it is for a headline.

                 

                But 2mm?

                 

                That is either a mistake or you probably want a different client.

                 

                Why not tell you they want it about that size and if they want the cap height or the font size.

                 

                But 2mm is a bit weird as a spec for text of any kind.

                • 5. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                  Gall666 Level 1

                  Thanks Jens!

                  That's the system I use already! I don't think there is a quicker or easier way!

                  • 6. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                    Isolder Level 2

                    Seems like it would be better for a person asking for a sign or design

                    then to say "I need it to fit in this space, make it work".

                    • 7. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                      Gall666 Level 1

                      Thanks all

                       

                      The customer is a electrical company who do switch boards and so on. They send me a draft of the label they want producing by fax, it looks like it has been created on AutoCAD. All measurements are there including the radius of corners etc....

                      I could turn around and bother them for the text size in points but we are happy for any buisness at the moment and I don't like to complicate matters for them.

                      • 8. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                        PrepressPro1 Adobe Community Professional

                        2mm is a very common standard for the DBA and Gov Warning line in wine labels. I just draw a 2mm high box and use it as a gauge against the line of type. This type is almost always all upper case. If not, the smallest character must be 2mm high.

                        • 9. Re: How do I get correct text size in MM
                          Asbjørn K. Iden

                          Hi everyone,

                           

                          this topic has already been answered, but I didn't find the method I've come to use mentioned.

                           

                          There are two ways I use to do this, both with the same results in sizing.

                           

                          #1:

                          If I don't need editable type at all, I just create outlines out of everything and change the height.

                          This works if you don't need the font-size and want every letter to fit into a rectangle with the same height.

                           

                          #2:

                          By adding a Live Effect in the Appearance-panel, you can achieve the same results as you do with create outlines, but with the added bonus of getting the font-size and you can even choose just one letter to set the height by.

                          I choose Path > Outline Object in the Appearance-panel, followed by typing in whatever mm I want in the transform panel, not the font size. Then I clear the appearance.

                          By turning on the bounding box you can also see what's happening. When you create outlines from type, the bounding box

                          will "hug" the letters tightly and not use the usual upper/lower-case bounding box.

                           

                          If the customer knows what letter he wants to be exactly measured, I use this method first and save the font-size that comes up and write with it.

                           

                          Hope this helps someone out there, it works for me.

                           

                          -Asbjørn