This post was originally posted on my Digiscrap101 blog in 2009 - hopefully you will still find it helpful as you think about Christmas cards this year. :)
It is Christmas Card Season again! Every year I try to think of something fun and different to do and last year I went completely digital...and then heard about it from all my "lovely non-computer literate don't read my email ever" relatives. So this year I decided to repent and send out Christmas Cards to the clan.
My biggest issue with this holiday is that it is so busy - technically when I am really organized I get my kids' Christmas Card photo in October, do the cards in November and have them out after Thanksgiving. However, this year, with our family's move to a new home and several projects, that wasn't happening. So I went with Plan B - Vacation family Christmas photo as an accent and a custom personalized word design for the front:
If you want to design your own custom word art Christmas Card, check out my tutorial here. If you are starved for time and want a machine to do the words for you, keep reading.
I went over to Wordle and took the text from the annual Christmas Letter I didn't want to print and pasted it in. For those of you that have blogs, even better, you can give the Wordle engine your blog address and it pulls your blog posts for you, making the words you talk about most larger. It is a very interesting tool to see what you write about most.
The biggest issue with importing your blog is that you probably have said very little about Christmas or the the Holidays. You can fix this by doing a post with the words you want emphasized the most written over and over such as Merry, Christmas, Holiday, Cheer, Peace, Love, Joy, etc. Just delete the post after you import into Wordle. You can also do the same thing by writing text with words you want emphasized most and feeding that in with the text from your annual Christmas letter.
So a few pointers on working with Wordle. After you get your text entered, you are presented with random word art - there are a few things you can do to alter the words to get you want. Start first with the Language Tab where you will want to click on the option to Remove common English words - this will ensure that AND BUT OR - along with any other words you commonly use that are somewhat meaningless will be removed from your card. You can also choose to make all your words capitalized, lower cased or just as you spelled them.
The Font Tab is pretty self-explanatory - basically try the different fonts until you find one you like with the layout you like. The Layout Tab allows you to choose the maximum number of words you want in your creation along with the ability to choose the direction of your text - if you are doing a landscape layout for your card (wider than tall) my favorite setting is Horizontal or Mostly Horizontal. If you are doing a portrait layout, Vertical or Mostly Vertical is fun. If you want to be really creative and edgy try the other settings.
The Color Tab is where it gets fun - you can choose your custom color palette with the color picker or choose one of Wordle's color combinations. Personally I wanted to choose some Christmas colors and I made my own custom palette. One thing to watch for is that Wordle will sometimes slightly change your colors from your custom palette on some of the words. You can keep it all the exact color by checking "Exact Palette Colors" on the Color Tab.
The most frustrating thing about Wordle is that it is completely RANDOM. You can't get the exact same results each time - so it is important to know how to get your creation out of Wordle so that you can use it in your card design. This way if you find something you slightly like, you can have a copy of it in case what you create next you don't like as much.
The secret is to click on the "Open In Window" button on the bottom left corner of the Wordle Screen. When that Preview Window Opens, re-size it on your computer to make it larger. When it is as large as you want it, use your screen capture tools to grab it. For a Mac you press Command + Shift + 4 and then click and drag to capture. If you are working on a PC, open Photoshop Elements (Or other graphics program) and press ALT + Print Screen (this is usually the key to the right of F12 on your keyboard and may also require you hitting the shift key). If you are working in Vista choose PC Accessories > Snipping Tool > and choose your method from ‘New’ drop-down menu.
From there you have your text. Tomorrow's post we will show you how to embellish that text into something fun....