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General Forge Forums => Independent Publishing => Topic started by: Calithena on May 03, 2012, 08:11:20 AM



Title: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: Calithena on May 03, 2012, 08:11:20 AM
I am wondering if any of you know of or can link me to any. Thanks for any help you can provide. "Initials" in the sense I mean are the big capital letters that often occur at the headings of chapters etc. in older books, FYI.


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: David Artman on May 03, 2012, 11:18:01 AM
You can actually make Initials out of any font (even automating it, in certain DTP applications) so I'm guessing that you want a woodcut font or similar. There's a bajillion free font sites you can search for woodcut fonts.


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: Calithena on May 05, 2012, 05:59:40 PM
I was thinking artistically attractive ones - for example I used Holbein Dance of Death in Roll the Bones. There are a lot of free font sites out there although many of them are only free for non-commercial use when you read the fine print.


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on May 05, 2012, 09:35:00 PM
Remember that for initial use you don't need most features of font files (kerning etc.), so there's no reason not to use image files instead. You well might find your perfect initials in a simple image format somewhere.

Other than that, I've myself found that I want to choose highly divergent styles of lettering for initial use in different projects, which means that I don't really have a particular favourite.


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: kensanata on May 06, 2012, 10:45:48 AM
How about this one?

"Scanned Images, Engravings and Pictures From Old Books

Over 3,100 high-resolution free images scanned from more than 180 different old or rare books, with extracts, by Liam Quin. If you use these pictures, let me know. Link back here, and send me a copy!"

Starting with Letter A:

http://www.fromoldbooks.org/Search/?kw=lettera


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: David Artman on May 07, 2012, 08:12:40 AM
It just occurred to me: any method of typesetting initials that doesn't do it automatically, within the style definition, is going to make the first word unsearchable. 99% of the time, this won't matter (many sentences begin with irrelevant terms or articles). But it would matter if you ever wanted to pull the text into another context (e.g., auto-generated glossary or terms; cross-reference that quotes the copy).

I know of no way (other than complex CSS+JavaScript) to replace the first letter of a paragraph with an image, rather than with a different font's glyph. I suspect you'd have to do it manually, in most DTP programs (i.e., anything other than an XML editing environment, e.g., FrameMaker 8+).


Title: Re: Public Domain/Free for Commercial Use Initials?
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on May 07, 2012, 02:20:02 PM
On the other hand, you wouldn't use very many heavy initials in even a large book. It's no worse than many other routine tasks that need to be done manually.

Regarding search functionality, you could leave the original first letter in place and style it to 0% width and no colour.

But it's true that using images here does break the current layout softwares a bit. No technical reason for it to not be supported (and plenty of uses for being able to equate an image with a string), but it's clearly a functionality that hasn't been considered yet.