Creating a Text Logo

NatickFOSS text logo3

The first step is choosing and getting the software. I used Inkscape for this example. Typically a GNU/Linux distribution has packages, but you can also get the installers through the Inkscape home page. (Installing software isn't covered in this article.)

Next, you need to select a font you like. There are dozens of fonts installed when you put a distribution like Ubuntu on your computer. There are many more fonts available. Some cost money. Others, like the neat one in the logo, are available for free. In keeping with the idea of software freedom, sharing, etc. I'm using a free font which is called MAINFRAME BB. The creator of the font is Nate Piekos who is also known as "Blambot" which he uses as his nickname on Twitter. Besides doing comic book lettering for a living, Nick makes fonts. He sells some, while he makes others, like MAINFRAME BB, free to use as "freeware for independent comic book creation and non-profit use ONLY." Natick FOSS qualifies to use it. If we were going to publish commercial work, we'd need to buy a license from Nate.

Part 1

Adding a font to your computer (Ubuntu/Kubuntu).

In your home folder, create a hidden folder, if the folder doesn't already exist. The fonts in this folder will be available to your login. It should be named .fonts (note the leading period). To see the hidden folders in Kubuntu, start Dolphin, the file manager program, navigate to your home folder and while holding down the Alt key, tap the period key.Your hidden folders will be revealed. For regular Ubuntu, try Ctrl+H to reveal the hidden files. You may also want to read for more details of this step.
seeing hidden folders

To make such a folder, right click the screen between current folder icons. You will get a context menu which has the option to make a New... (folder). Name it with a leading period.

.new hidden folder

Download the MAINFRAME BB font from the Blambot Web site. The link you want depends on your computer. For this font on a Windows or GNU/Linux installation, the PC TTF is the link to click. TTF stands for the most typically used format for fonts: TrueType Font. Of course, if you were using a Macintosh, you would use that format.
downloading the font

What you get when you click the link is the dialog for doing a compressed file download. This dialog appears for me. I choose to save the file (mark the appropriate button using the mouse. The default location for this save is a folder called Downloads.

download and save the font file

I get a Firefox Download message, telling me the file has finished.

Download confirmation

Next, I navigate to my Downloads folder and open the zipped (compressed) file using Ark which is the archive file tool on Kubuntu.
You can see that there are three files that have been packaged by Blambot. There is a regular version of the font, a bold version and a small text file describing the font license. All I need to do is click the Extract button in the toolbar.


I choose to extract all the zipped files (which automatically creates a folder for the zipped files) into the same Downloads folder. (I can choose to keep or discard these files later. Maybe I'll want to share the font with a friend.)


Here you can see the extracted folder, mainframebb.

extracted folder

The last step in preparing the font is to copy both the font (TTF) files to the .fonts folder you made earlier. My file manager (Dolphin) lets me split the view so it is very easy to drag files between locations. If your file manager shows only one view at a time, you may need to select the two files using the Ctrl key to select more than one at a time, then copy and, after switching to the .fonts folder, paste them.

copying the files

Part 2

Creating the Logo

Once you have installed the font you want, you can use it in any program which lets you select text. You could use the font in LibreOffice, for example. This logo project is going to require more precise control than that, so Inkscape is the way I choose to go.

Start Inkscape.
Expand the window and view full size. It will be easier to see what you are doing.

start inkscape

Zoom in this way, if you wish.

zoom in

Change the font to Mainframe BB. (My default font is Liberation Sans.)
Make the font size 48 point or bigger.

change font

Type the word NATICK. It will be black by default. By default, there will also be no border around the letters.

The control for Fill and Stroke (border) is at the bottom left corner of the Inkscape window.

fill and border

You want the fill to be white. Be alert. The word will disappear except for the handles.
Just clicking the color block for white will give you a white word (which will seem to disappear except for the handles.
fill border

Add a 4 point border (stroke) to the lettering. Change the border color to navy blue, and change the letter fill to white. (controls at bottom left of window
Right click the word "None" by the Stroke label in order to get the following options. Choose black initially.

thin border
The automatic stroke thickness is 1 pixel. Right click the number to get a long list of options. Choose 4.
To change the stroke color from black to blue, hold down the shift key while clicking the navy blue color block.

change font border

Adjust the kerning (space between letters) to a minus 4.00 so the borders of the letters bump into each other but don't overlap. The logo looks better that way, I think.

change kerning

The manual shadow is next. Duplicate the word. Change the new copy to all gray, both the fill and the stroke.
Using the arrow keys, move the gray copy two steps right and two steps down.

gray duplicate

Finally lower the gray copy behind the colorful one.

lower and shift the shadow

color, border and kerning

Group the two copies of NATICK. Grouping means the word and its shadow will stay in relative position while you manipulate them later.

In a separate text box, type the word FOSS in the same Mainframe BB font, and make the kerning minus 6.00 for a tighter overlap (remember there's no border).
You're not going to do the border this time.
Add a manual shadow effect as we did before.
Make a gray copy and shift two steps right and two steps down.
Lower the gray copy below the black copy.
Group the two copies of FOSS.

Slide the word FOSS up to just bump into the shadow of the word NATICK.
Left align the two grouped word groups.
Select one word by clicking on it. Then hold the shift key to select the second as you click it.
The alignment will normally be made to the last element you select.


There it is.

Of course, Maybe you like an alignment to the right instead.
Thanks for following along.
Send comments. algot at