Tag Archives: Kerning

Typographic Turn-ons: Baby, I’m Kerning

Part three in our series:


Let’s face it, there’s something unspoken between us. No baby, it’s not the space between you and me, although sometimes it’s what’s between “u” and “i”.

I’ve been trying my darndest, but we’re just not fitting together right these days. Maybe it’s our increased size, but either we’re squishing into each other or we’re just too far apart. Frankly, it’s affecting my attraction to you.

There’s only one solution, sweet pea, we’ve got to kern. Our glyphs just need to get closer (but not too close) so that they fit better. And those times when we’re squished (especially when we’re playing as “scripts”), we need some positive kerning – pushing our characters farther apart.

typeoturnons_type.cs5_c'est la vie

I know, I know, you’re hesitant. Generally speaking, one doesn’t want to touch a type designer’s kerning. I mean, we were born this way. But y’know, sometimes I think we may have been born a text face, but with some manual kerning we could make it to a display. And yes, when we get that big, we look really loose. We’ve just got to pull it in a bit tighter.

Finally, if you’re not opposed to adding a third, I hear the best way to kern is to look at three letters at a time and make sure they look right.


DIY: Try your hand at tracking open and kerning Font Bureau’s William Caslon Text at a display size, such as in this photo.

Fontlympic Decathlon: The Kern

Our Fontlympic Decathlon continues, but first, yesterday’s results:

Now on to today’s event. Kerns are adjustments in spacing made to specific pairs of letters. Some letter pairs, due to the nature of their forms, tend to crash or trap too much whitespace when juxtaposed. Look at the following samples and select the one that exhibits the best overall spacing, keeping in mind that sometimes the best kerns are the ones that don’t exist.

Polls close at midnight (Pacific). The next event in our Typographic Decathlon continues here tomorrow at 1pm.