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Marketing Ideas Centre / 8. Custom Tutorials /
Author Message

Kerning a Letter space

Kerning is when letters are manually moved to look more appealing. Most fonts are never designed for large output, so the Australia Signs Graphic Team look carefully at any 'problem' letters when a large sign is to be made.

This little trick makes a big difference to the overall quality.

For our graphic designer friends, please apply this to all your sign designs. What will this look like when really big?

To adjust kerning, in your preferred graphic design software, before converting the font to outlines, you can use the 'node' control tool to manually adjust the little space between problem letters.

X to A, this typically needs adjusting.
Y to W, typically, this needs to be shortened.
I to T, watch this combo, looks bad when enlarged.

Specialty Fonts may also 'over kern' so watch out for letters that are too tightly spaced.

Trade Term: Kerning

The adjustment of horizontal space between individual characters in a line of text. Adjustments in kerning are especially important in large display and headline text lines. Without kerning adjustments, many letter combinations can look awkward. The objective of kerning is to create visually equal spaces between all letters so that the eye can move smoothly along the text.

Trade Term: Word Kerning

Kerning also applies to the distance between words. E.g. ITWAS compared to IT WAS or IT WAS

Trade Term: Left Margin Kerning
Some fonts and the x point of the node control when enlarged make a big difference to the left margin. Design for Vertical placements and watch out for any font that you can align.
Programs that 'auto' align must be controlled visually when making things big. Watch out for that. Looks OK on A4, at 30 metres, it may seem off.


What is a font?

A design for a set of characters. A font is the combination of typeface and other qualities, such as size, pitch, and spacing. For example, Verdana is a typeface that we are using in this page, but within Verdana, there are many fonts to choose from--different sizes, italic, bold, and so on.

The height of characters in a font is measured in points, each point being approximately 0.35 millimeters or 1/72 inch.

But when

Making Signage or large outdoor advertising, Fonts are measured in Millimetres.

Fonts are a complete collection of letters, punctuation marks, numbers, and special characters with a consistent and identical typeface, weight (Roman or bold), posture (upright or italic) and font size. Technically, font still refers to one complete set of characters in a given typeface, weight, and size, such as Helvetica italic 12 - but the terms has come to be used interchangeably for referring to typefaces or letter styles or graphic themes or font families.

If you have other 'what is ?' type questions, go to the Ideas Centre Topic where the team answer lots of trade 'what is ?' enquiries.

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