This is my attempt at a text guide, requested by dixon. :)
I might have spent a bit too much time writing this, so please excuse the length and possible unnecessary information :x
The post also includes my favorite fonts (including links), requested by adriftingsea. :D
I use Photoshop CS5, but I assume this will translate to all PS versions!
Also, please pardon my English. Sometimes I don't know how to explain things, so if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask!
Always have your character window open when doing text! Here you'll find basically everything you need related to text.
This is how it looked when I made the small banner above:
And here is an easy explanation of what the things mean:
The things not explained are not really important I think. :)
To get your text all aligned like a in a book.
Write your text and simply open the "PARAGRAPH" window and click "Justify all" (on the right side). This will make your letters go evenly within the text box you've created. You can make several text boxes in different fonts and sizes, just make sure the text box alignes with the others.
Making text follow the shape/line you want is much easier than you'd think!
If you have a steady hand or a tablet, you can use the Freeform Pen Tool and draw whichever shapes you want.
I do not have any of the above, therefore I use the Normal Pen Tool. :)
Use these settings:
If you want to make a swirly line, click once on your canvas, then click and drag somewhere else on your canvas till you get the curve you want. Do this as many times as you want. When you are done with your line, choose the text tool and click on the middle of the line, this is important. If you don't, you won't get enough space for your text.
If you want text as a circle, simply click on the "ellipse tool" in the bar above (it's the circle). Make sure paths are still selected on left side and not shape layers. Now click and drag on your canvas to make your circle. If you want a perfect circle, hold shift at the same time. Now choose the text tool and click on the line and start typing. Adjust the size and spacing to get your text to "fill out" the entire circle.
To get spiral text (like in the 4th example icon) and other shapes that are harder to make on your own, choose the custom shape tool (still within the pen toolbar) and choose a shape you like and click on the path and type.
If your shape has very sharp turns, the letters can get crowded like this:
To fix this, just highlight the crowded word and adjust the spacing between the letters in the characters window.
I chose 100.
You can also make your text inside shapes (not the pre-made ones though, for some reason). But you can use the circle, square or make your own shape. Except this time you click inside the shape and not on the path when typing your text.
Now comes the part that is totally subjective on my part. There is no wrong or right way to do text! This is all just a matter of taste. :)
One thing I like to do is mix colors and/or fonts like this:
Always pick colors that are either already in the icon (using the eye-dropper tool) or pick colors that go well together.
Take a look at the color wheel. I usually use complementary colors (opposite each other on the wheel) or monochromatic (colors of the same hue). Or I make all the text except one word white. The word can be either something you want to highlight, or simply make the icon look more eye-catching.
When mixing fonts, I suggest not going overboard with the rest of the icon, to not make it look cluttered. :)
If you're using script fonts in the mix (which can look great with sans serif fonts), don't use it on words that are too long. It can get harder to read and also clutter the icon.
You can also use textures, patterns or gradients to fill your text.
This is very easy, just add the texture you want (or anything else) above the text layer, right click on the layer and choose "create clipping-mask". Drag your texture around till you get the part you want to cover the text. :)
If your text blends into the background, or you just want some shadowing. Just duplicate your text layer, choose the bottom text layer, nudge it a bit to the side and down using the arrows on your keyboard. And then pick the color of your liking. Pick something in contrast to the colors on your original text. :)
Sometimes the text doesn't fit the space available in the icon or you just want to do something more to the text. One solution is to tilt or flip the text to an angle. If you want to tilt it, choose the move tool and check the "Show Transform Controls" square at the top and then hold your cursor slightly on the outside of the corner of your text and drag til you get the results you want (sometime you have to click one time to get the right transform tool and then click and drag).
If you want to flip the text, go to Edit>>Transform>>Rotate 90° CCW or CW (counter clock wise and clock wise).
There's probably a whole bunch of stuff I've missed, so if you want any more "guidance", let me know! :3
I will also post a textspiration post later!
* default fonts