Saturday, March 27, 2010

It's Back!!

Time was, there was no better Mac app for font manipulation and design than TypeStyler. At least, not for any art-challenged, Illustrator-phobic, types like me. See the Bib 2.0 header up there? I did that in TypeStyler. We also used it for headline and graphic designs when I taught yearbook.

TypeStyler made it easy to create professional-looking designs for newsletters, webpages, you name it. Then came OSX. While many apps jumped quickly on the bandwagon, Strider Software (makers of TS)posted a reasonable statement on their website saying they were working on an OSX-compatible version, and they wanted it to be great, so please be patient, and in the meantime TS would run in Classic mode (for those of you who even remember what that is!) Well, that was in 2002.

Over the years, I would check back occasionally, but there was never an upgrade. OSX upgrades continued to include Classic for a while, but then Apple decided it was time for diehards to bite the bullet and stop using OS9, and they no longer supported it. AARGH! I LOVED my TypeStyler! So, while my iMac upgraded through all the cats--Tiger, Jaguar, etc. I kept my iBook with the original OSX so I could continue to use TypeStyler.

Two years ago, however, I finally decided to give up and let TS die a natural death. I looked around for similar programs, like Art Text, but none were as easy to use or as flexible/powerful, and I (and my graphic arts abilities) languished.

But then, last night, as I flipped nonchalantly through the current MacWorld, there, buried on page 84, was a small paragraph about TypeStylerX!! Hallelujah! Angels wept for joy! Bells chimed! I didn't even read the blurb--just hopped online and immediately downloaded the software!

Now, it's not quite ready for a full launch yet--i.e. there's no manual, and it's not a completely intuitive switch from TS3, but close enough, and they're working on a manual which will be ready....soon. But the company offers a generous 60 day free trial, and all I can say is it's well worth the price for anyone who lacks the time for more advanced programs, but needs to make good-looking banners and headlines for publication (read: librarians!).

I haven't had time to explore it fully yet, but I played around last night and created that little graphic I posted (btw, the white background is a blogger thing. The background is actually transparent when I import it into, say, Power Point or a document.)

The reviews rave about its increased functionality, including 3D graphics that can rotate, which will be interesting to play with. It does have only one layer of undo, which seems odd in this day and age. If you inadvertently move an object after an operation, as I did a couple of times, all you can undo is the move, not the operation. If you haven't saved frequently (so that you can just restart, although that's annoying) you've lost your work if you don't like the change you just made. Hopefully, future updates (in 2018?) will correct this.

It's not often I recommend tools you have to pay for, but this is one you'll love. Check it out.

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