House Industries is a well-known type foundry with an exuberant and assorted catalog of fonts brought to life thanks to the effort of many skilled font designers. The foundry recently released its Photolettering, a photo app to create images that combine images and typography. Photolettering takes its inspiration from the works of Photo-Lettering Inc., a type house that made use of avanced typographic and photographic technologies for producing high profile commercial work and that for its achievements and influencial production is still considered by most a pioneering enterprise. PLINC, as it was known among adepts, employed many talented hand-letterers and graphic designers and built over the years one of the most impressive type libraries ever.
There are many iPhone apps to add text to images out there, but Photolettering’s most interesting feature is in what we could call its “editorial uniqueness”: you don’t have a generic selection of font faces to choose from, but a fine collection of excellent typefaces.
- 20+ fonts (3 free + others via in-app purchase);
- Three photographic filters;
- Set text alignment;
- Change font color;
- Set background color.
With Photolettering, you can either use the in-app camera or import images from your device’s albums. Text can be aligned and moved around the screen as you prefer and font face and colors can be adjusted to suit your taste and needs. Three basic photographic effects can be applied to images for enhancement: a copper-like monochrome, black and white and a warm color filter with dark vignette. Available typefaces can be browsed and selected through a scrollable menu; in the same way the user can set background and font color for the text.
The app is very simple to use, with just enough space for customization and a very easy interface that even a beginner could get used to. Nevertheless, Photolettering feels a bit rudimental compared to other similar apps like Phonto; however, the fine fonts choice, varied but not overwhelming, makes the app attractive for both iPhone aficionados who are constantly looking for new ideas to add a distinctive touch to their images and for casual users who just want to embellish their photos with a few taps. Unfortunately, most of the content is not free and you have to pay for downloading and using it.
The app is an extension to House Industries’ Photolettering service, where you can set up an account and download assets in exchange for a monthly subscription. You do not need a subscription to use the iPhone app, but as I said, most of the content is locked unless you buy more font sets for $0.99 each. As an alternative, you can unlock all content for $10.99, frankly a bit too much for most users’ standard requirements, especially given other more sophisticated options available in the App Store for free. Of course, the fonts available through Photolettering are top notch and the work of designers whose work is being featured in the app should be recognized and appreciated, but for people wishing to add a message to their photos without going through any complication, these talks will make no sense at all. Overall, Photolettering looks more like a trinket for typography freaks or industry people than an application for wider public use.
Publisher: House Industries
Compatibility: iOS 6.0 or later.