Everything You Need to Know Kerning

Everything You Need to Know Kerning

In graphic design, even small things make a huge impact on the design. If you fail to give attention to details, chances are your design would be rejected. 

While the phrase “Perfection is a Myth” is absolutely true and there is nothing in this world that could be called perfect or flowless, there are few things in graphic designing you have to make sure they at least near to perfect. 

One of such small things that you ought to make perfect is – kerning. What is kerning you ask? To know that you have to read this article to the last word. 

What is Kerning? 

Kerning refers to the spacing between the characters of a font. Without kerning, each character takes a certain amount of space and the next character is printed after it. 

When kerning is applied, the characters can vertically overlap each other. The characters don’t actually touch though, they just simply take the same vertical space. 

Kerning is a useful process as it allows more text to be placed within a given amount of space. This allows longer articles to be perfectly fit in newspapers and magazines within a short space. 

The Three Types of Kerning 

Metrics kerning: 

Metrics kerning uses kern pairs, which are included with most of the fonts. Kern pairs contain information about the spacing of specific pairs of letters. 

 Some software and tools by default use metrics kerning. That means these pairs of letters are automatically kerned so you don’t have to take efforts in kerning. 

Optical kerning: 

This kerning type adjusts the spacing between adjacent characters based on their shapes. Some design apps provide this feature as an alternative to metrics kerning. Optical kerning is perfect for headlines. 

Manual kerning: 

By its names, you can assume what this kerning type is all about. When you set the kern of your typeface according to the requirements of your project. When you can’t find the right setting in your software, you can enter the dimensions, spacings, and shapes as you prefer. 

How to Master Kerning 

Knowing what this process is and having hands-on experience applying it, is a kind of skill. Mastering this process is a little bit hard as many experienced designers too, couldn’t perfectly explain how to master it. 

Though like any other skill, with persistent practice and trial-and-error method, you can master this skill. Makes sure you keep these two tips in your mind while practicing kerning. 

Know what letters are trickier to kern 

Those letters are difficult to kern that takes more space. They create that awkward, hard-to-ignore space when you put them next to each other. 

Some letters can be frustrating to kern and that depends on how early you are in your practice. As you practice, you’ll understand how to do this.  

Don’t focus on a word’s meaning 

Sometimes the meaning of the words negatively influences your brain. While designing, you may associate the word with what it means and create your design according to it. 

But in kerning you have to think of words as mere shapes, so you can give your attention to the spaces created by them. Instead of seeing the meaning of the word, take the word into consideration. 


Kerning can be hard to master. But perfecting the kerning process and presenting it with all of the other elements of design is how you achieve a complete project. And there is no shortcut of master this other than practicing a lot. 

Categories: Blog

Share Your Valuable Opinions