If you want to start leveling-up your typography, you’ve got to know how to properly kern your letters.
Kerning measures the space between two different letters. A kerning mistake could make a word difficult to read, and might affect how natural the text looks. Lots of designers fail to see this impact and end up making kerning mistakes that can cost them projects and clients.
In this guide, we’ll be sharing seven fool-proof tips to keep in mind when kerning your type. Let’s go!
1 – Find out what kind of fonts you’ll be using
Various fonts have different widths and styles, which means that they will fit differently given the same amount of space. You can’t kern until you know what font you’re dealing with. Also note, your headline, subhead, and text will likely all consist of different fonts.
2 – Check on leading and tracking before kerning
Leading, tracking, and kerning all fit together to make the design of your lettering whole. Leading refers to that vertical space in between two different lines. Tracking is similar to kerning in that it deals with the amount of space between letters. The only difference is that tracking maintains a uniform width between letters.
3 – Kern each letter individually
Automatic kerning features are easy to find. So why bother to manually adjust the spaces between letters one by one? It is more important to consider what humans will see instead of what computers think.
4 – Think about the space between similarly shaped letters
Letters with slanted sides have a ton of negative space (A, V, Y, W). You can lessen that negative space when next to letters that can easily slip into each other.
5 – Less is more
Don’t over-kern! And excessively tight letters can become unattractive and difficult to read. Quit while you’re ahead. Rule of thumb is, if it looks fine to you visually, leave it.
6 – Don’t neglect the spacing between words
The spaces between words matter too, you know. If you kerned your words tightly and left wide spaces between the words, it is not only going to make entire sentences or lines look awkward and impossible to read.
7 – Always have two versions of the design
If your design is to be adjusted in the future, there is a chance that the readability of the text is affected in the process. If the design has to be reproduced in a smaller size, you’ll have to adjust kerning just a tad bit looser to make the words more readable. This helps clients see how your work will look in different contexts. Use this to identify any kerning changes that might be required in the future.
This post was originally published on Creative Market, the world’s marketplace for ready-to-use design assets.