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Clem Robins 05-25-2007 02:09 PM

kerning shortcut
here's a nice little shortcut to kerning, consisting of three steps.

1. first, before you even THINK about kerning, space your font as carefully as you possibly can. make sure that characters with vertical borders, like H and i, or characters with one vertical border, like E, R, P, D, F, K, L, B, and N all have the same, or almost the same, quantity of space outside of that vertical border. stuff like that. before attempting to kern, test it every way you can without kerning. since most applications do not support kerning anyway, you'll be doing yourself a favor by getting your spacing as perfect as possible.

type existed for centuries without any possibility of kerning. in fact, kerning (without the use of a razor blade, anyway) has only existed for the last quarter century. push yourself as far as you possibly can without kerning.

this will save you more time than you can imagine. i've mentioned this before. stupid choices about spacing will multiply the amount of kerning you'll have to do later on. so bite the bullet and space your font intelligently.

2. now it's time to kern individual pairs. instead of trying to anticipate kerning pairs, do it the easy way. take a large block of text, like a comic book script or anything else, and copy a few words at a time. paste these into your metrics window, and turn on the kerning.

immediately you'll see pairs in need of kerning.

the obvious one is T and O, but you'll see others. but the big block of text from which you copy will save you a lot of time. there'll be enough on a couple of pages of text to bring to your attention almost every kerning pair you'll ever have to deal with.

3. finally, for each pair, kern in the following fashion. i'll use T and O as an example, but do this for all kerning pairs:


this will enable you to substitute alternate characters in any possible situation, without running into bad kerning.

anyway, this has helped me out.

Kep! 05-25-2007 02:12 PM

Spank'n great info! Thank you!

Piekos 05-25-2007 03:07 PM

I find it's best to compile a massive list of the "problem" kerning pairs as a text document. It may take a while, but everytime you find one, add it to your document. That way, when you make a new font, all you have to do is copy/paste that list into the kerning window of Fontlab and get to work.

And that's one to grow on....LA LALAAAAA....


Clem Robins 05-25-2007 03:32 PM

yeah, every time i kern i tell myself i'm gonna do that, and i never get around to it. if there's a genuine altruist out there who might make such a document available, there might be a Nobel Peace Prize in it.

Jason Arthur 05-27-2007 11:40 AM

I forget who hooked me up with this (may have been Clem or Nate) :

I've copied and pasted the sets from there and like Nate said I've added some of my own as well.

Anyone who wants my modified version can shoot me a PM or email and I'll set you up.

-- J

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