Macsimum review: Art Text good but not ready for the print toolbox
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Macsimum review: Art Text good but not ready for the print toolbox

But when Apple came out with Mac OS X, TypeStyler users were left behind. Despite promises from the developers of TypeStyler, we’re still waiting for the OS X version 8 years later.

Fortunately, just a couple or three years ago, BeLight Software gave us ArtText. Recently they have provided ArtText 2 ($40, demo available at BeLight). And with a couple of caveats, it’s a worthy addition to every web graphic designer’s tool box.

But I don’t think it’s ready for the print toolbox. But more on that in a minute.

The Good

Like to emboss type? Like glows? Like to warp words? Boy, is this program for you. There are multiple and varied prebuilt styles. And not only to the styles work with type, they will work on shapes as well. And you can edit type, edit shapes, combine the two and even put pictures inside letters, glow around it and just about anything you can think of. And while the built-in styles run the gamut, if you are extra-imaginative, you can design your own. Gradients, layers, drop shadows, glows: it’s all there.

The program is easy to use. Despite a few idiosyncrasies, if you know how to use just about any Mac program, you’ll be able to crank this program up and begin designing in just a few seconds.

I could describe a whole bunch more stuff the program does, but why not just go download the demo and try it out for yourself. Bet you get hooked.

The Bad

I’ve criticized this before from BeLight Software: There are no rulers. Every designer I know wants to know how big to make the artwork. While you have control over the overall size of the document, there is no way to put in guides or see exactly how big something is once you begin the process. That’s one of the reasons I can’t recommend this for the professional. If you can get past that, you’re not going to hurt my feelings by disagreeing with this point.

imageThe Ugly

I used ArtText to design a logo for a special section at the newspaper where I work. I created custom CMYK colors in ArtText to the values that I know they need to be. These are values I use in QuarkXPress every day. Exported pdf, tiff, jpg, eps, but none of them registered the correct colors. A check of the ArtText support forums revealed a BeLight employee saying he’s not sure they can guarantee CMYK is correct on output. Oops. But to be fair to BeLight, that may not be their target, anyway.

Conclusion

So, should you buy ArtText? Depends on what you plan to do with it. If you’re working with Web graphics or printing items out to your color inkjet or laser printer, the program is awesome. Hey, for $40, it’s a great toy even if you never use it for actual work. But for color print work, you might just want to skip it.

Macsimum rating: 9 out of 10 for Web work, 3 out of 10 for print work

 
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