To Everything Kern…Kern…Kern…

i-couldnt-kern-less-printsHow to fix it when the type just looks off; 9 pro tips you need to know.

It’s Friday, a good day for a little design lesson and maybe some audio from The Byrds.

“Have you ever looked at a word or phrase you’re typesetting and something just looked off about it?” asks Janie Kliever in Design School.

She notes that it could be a kerning problem, “the amount of space between two letters (or other characters: numbers, punctuation, etc.) and the process of adjusting that space to avoid awkward-­looking gaps between your letters and improve legibility.”

Understanding kerning and how to manipulate it is a crucial design skill, and one that can set you apart as someone who knows your stuff.

Kliever makes an excellent case for why you need to have a strong kerning game in your design skill set. And she offers nine pro tips to learn and use to keep the type flowing:

  1. Watch out for certain letter combinations
  2. Understand the relationship between space and letter shape
  3. Be aware of point size
  4. Err on the side of over-kerning
  5. Flip it (our favorite – it’s genius)
  6. Save kerning ‘til last
  7. Know when
  8. Put it into practice
  9. Don’t forget web content

For any designer, this tutorial offers a great intro to the idea of kerning and why it’s so critical to polished design. So put on some music and kern…kern…kern!