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lthough there are lots of great decorative initials fonts out there, they may not suit your particular needs or the style you want to achieve in your design. In particular, when you're doing your text in a specific font you may want the initials to match that font, and it's a long shot to expect to find already created initials to match any given text font. The solution to this problem is to create your own initials fonts, and this is surprisingly easy to do with Adobe Photoshop or an equivalent program plus the right fonts to use as source material.

ssuming that your goal is to make initials that match the text font you're using, the only thing you need aside from that font, is a font which has image characters which will work well as backgrounds for your initials. There are lots of these available. Generally you want to find ones which offer a square, mostly filled shape with good large dark areas and an image which will look decent with a letter superimposed on it. There are a number of fonts in our collection which work well for this, especially the Medieval Tiles font set, the Emblem font and the Sangrael font. Characters from these fonts can easily be used as backgrounds with your appropriate capital letter overlaid on them.

vital element in creating a good looking intiial is making sure that the letter is clearly offset from the background. If you just type one on top of the other in the same color the result will be a mess and the letter will be almost invisible. The key tool for avoiding this problem is a beveling or outlining tool. This is included in recent versions of Photoshop, or you can use the PhotoBevel plugin from PhotoTools, which work with Photoshop or compatible programs like Paintshop Pro and ColorIt. To make your letter stand out, you want to leave it selected after you type it in an appropriate size, and then surround it with an external outline of about 3-5 pixels (depending on the final size of the initial). Do the outline in the background color you're using for the page, or in a contrasting light color for the best result. In some cases an outline in a dark color or even in the color of the background will work well when the letter itself is in a light color or the background color of the page.

nother element you can use to make your initials more interesting is to vary the colors. Instead of a straight black on black, you can make the letter one color and the background another. But even then, a clear outline around the letter is essential to make it stand out. You can also vary the size of the letter in the box of the background. Not all initial letters have to be centered or fill the entire background space. You can offset the letter to one of the corners and make it less than full height or width. This technique was particularly popular with Art Nouveau initials of the late 19th century.

The resources for making good initials are easy to find. You can find a great selection of background images among our art fonts. Just CLICK HERE. If you don't already have a bevelling or outlining tool, look for the free demo of PhotoBevel at www.download.com. It's a tool no one should be without.