Kerning: An Introduction

Kerning

Kerning is when you adjust the spacing between (letters or characters) in a piece of text. It is also known as letter spacing. Kerning is very important although often overlooked, especially with novice graphic designers. You should never let your design program dictate your spacing. Every letter needs to be addressed and looked at to make sure the spacing is even and well distributed, especially when large type is used in titles for example.

Apparently others feel this way too. “Max Kerning” is a fictional (I think) character who created a video to address the importance of kerning. His Manifesto reads:

“When I look around, I see disorder in the world—needless chaos and messes. I sense panic and stress. In fact, I feel it myself. It rattles my soul and gives me a headache and a sourness of the stomach. This is because everywhere I am assaulted by sloppy text that is displeasing to the eye. There is no respect for proper letter spacing and font choice. Letters are squished together, piled up, overlapped and jumbled. They are inappropriately and self-indulgently tracked out. People mix typefaces with incompatible type styles.1 Or they think,“Why use a simple, clean typeface to convey an idea when you can use three or five or twelve.” This is wrong. This is sad. This is an affront to a cultured society, and it must be stopped. Immediately, before everything is tossed away to an angry wind. Order must be allowed to thrive, to flourish, to bring us into a tidy harmony.”

The website and video are pretty hilarious while also being educational. Take a peek here and see for yourself.