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Space it Out: Kerning Insights

Learn what to look out for when making kerning adjustments

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Kerning adjustments make a tremendous difference in the shape of each letter created. Some letters are perfect columns, others have wide shapes, and some have portions that extend only on the top or bottom.

Additionally, each font is a totally different animal, so there is not a single formula that works from font to font. Think of each pair of letters like pieces in a puzzle.

To complicate matters, different fonts will require different adjustments and the same font at different sizes will require different adjustments as well. To complicate matters even more, both of these elements can be mixed with different lettering baselines, which will create different kerning issues.

Some character pairs have blatant kerning issues that, left unchanged, look funky. Making a few kerning adjustments only takes a quick minute and changes the overall look of your embroidery. Kerning adjustments are equally as important for smaller letters as they are for larger letters. Some characters are prone to kerning issues and should be evaluated for visual correctness. Some of the main culprits are:

  • Slanted characters such as A, V, W, and Y
  • Letters that have pieces that extend on either the top or bottom, such as F, L, and T
  • A combination of lettering pairs that have slants, such as an A and V together

Also look out for characters in the middle of a word. It’s important to examine both sides of a letter for potential issues. Take, for instance, the word PANORAMA. The space between the A and the N looks fine, but the space between the A and the P to the left of it creates a gap next to the P.

The relationship between pairs of uppercase letters can cause its own issues, but lowercase letters have issues relating to kerning as well. The reason for this is that rounded letters and straight column letters look different when paired with each other than when paired with an identical type of character. For example, two straight-column characters look closer to one another than a straight character next to a curved character.

Ed Levy, Hirsch Solutions Inca

Ed Levy

Ed Levy is an industry veteran and director of software technologies at Hirsch Solutions.

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