Bleeding text in photoshop/illustrator

Rafe Copeland's picture

Hi Everyone,

I have been playing around recently with giving digital text a 'been printed' look where it has bled - I have tried several different approaches but haven't really been happy with any of them.

Does anyone have some tips or know of a tutorial for Illustrator or Photoshop in bleeding stuff onscreen as if it was printed on paper?



Rafe Copeland's picture

Perhaps a far better way to explain it is by focussing on the differences between printing from metal and digitally - I am tired of everything printed from a digital source being so perfect, and just as the designer intended. With material printed on a press there is always an element whereby the work is just as it is, and whereby there is only so much control a designer can have over the final product; as such, material printed manually tends to have more personality. The imperfections and inconsistencies created when printing digitally are in general uninteresting and do not create any remarkable effects bar that of making the work seem substandard.

However when printing stuff from metal, wood or whatever material takes your fancy with a manual printing press, you get interesting variations created from how the ink is spread over the surfaces, which paper you use, how firmly you apply the press, etc.

I want to introduce this type of inconsistency to digital media, in an effort to create what I suppose you could call an 'accidentalism' - an effect or final appearance which was, to a certain extent, created by accident. Obviously the nature of digital layouts means such accidentalisms are almost impossible; thus I want to simulate it in Photoshop/Illustrator, starting with making stuff look like it has been printed on paper.

This is the start of a personal project I suppose; any help would be greatly appreciated.


jupiterboy's picture

There are several threads about OpenType and alternate characters used to make a handwriting font look more like handwriting. I suspect this method could be employed with any font to add subtle variation.

Also, there are are many ways to distress a font and add irregularity. One very basic approach is to rasterize the type, add noise, blur the image to soften/fatten the edges, convert to bitmap, then redraw using the curves.

The problem is that a distressed edge means more points. This could be a real issue in a book face, for example.

dezcom's picture

There are some typefaces on the market that have that look. I believe P22 has a few.
See Morris Golden


jupiterboy's picture

An example.

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