Great Kerning Article

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Atonwa
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Great Kerning Article

Post by Atonwa » Sat Feb 06, 2016 1:27 pm

I'm not sure if this has been posted before but I came across an article that does a great job of explaining kerning in layman terms. It gives you tips, explains the letters and combinations to look out for and also visually shows why letters get manually kerning applied.

Like Will told me earlier, don't read this article if you don't want to always notice bad kerning in the future.

https://designschool.canva.com/blog/kerning/
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chomdh
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by chomdh » Sat Feb 06, 2016 7:12 pm

Great link. I learned about kerning the hard way. Read this and get it correct the first time.

F-engrave gave me kerning issues so I'll try a different workflow next time I carve some text!
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WillAdams
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by WillAdams » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:18 am

Not that wild about the article. It’s simplistic, mechanistic, and doesn’t try to achieve truly even optical spacing, but rather a fixed (and false) space.

It’s also hard to take an article on typography seriously when they use a closing single quote where they should have used an apostrophe:
06. Save kerning ‘til last.
David Kindersley’s work on this is much better, as is Walter Tracy’s _Letters of Credit_ or Michael Harvey’s _Creative Lettering Today_ (listed on the wiki) — any decent book on calligraphy would be better.
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Atonwa
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by Atonwa » Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:19 am

I understand this is your area of expertise Will and I respect your opinion. I want to point out that many of us are not going to pay $50+ for a book on typesetting and curl up with it on a Saturday night for some good reading. As an engineer I wouldn't expect someone to go read a 200 page book on fits and tolerances of press, sliding and slip fits to try and assemble a simple assembly.

We all have to start somewhere so a simple guide to kerning even if it's not this one that is free on the net would be very beneficial to everyone. If there is one out there that you can recommend it would be appreciated.
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TomDChi
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by TomDChi » Sun Feb 07, 2016 2:21 am

Even an awareness that you need to look for kerning problems and a basic, "simplistic, mechanistic" approach to fixing glaring problems would make the world a better place.

But it is useful to point out that you can do even better than that approach.

xfredericox
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by xfredericox » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:03 am

I get that kerning can be useful when making wooden signs and the like.
but this is a cnc forum afaik and not everybody is - or needs to be - graphically trained. Kerning is something that can't be learned only by reading books anyway.
The truth is most people just don"t care about this stuff, and that"s fine.
For me, making is about the experience rather than the result anyway.

I did the accents on purpose :D
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WillAdams
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by WillAdams » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:11 am

It takes the same time and effort to engrave / carve something which is beautifully designed as it does an ugly hack job — might a well make it beautiful (and why are you doing anything if it’s not grammatically correct and spelled properly?). Spacing also affects readability and legibility. I’ve always regretted not taking photos of a hand-painted sign on a beauty shop in Petersburg, Va. which had reasonably well-done spacing on one side, so was legible, but on the other, was so poorly spaced as to seem to read as a different set of words.
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The article on David Kindersley’s LOGOS used to be online, but seems to’ve been taken down, and was done back before archive.org was preserving things for posterity.

Most commercial typefaces are fairly well-spaced, w/ reasonable kerning tables — the problem is, consumer / office-oriented software doesn’t make use of them (and some, such as Publisher has (had?) very limited spacing options) — if the software which you’re using doesn’t afford this, it behooves you to set in something which does and import it. There’s a fabulous discussion of Prof. Hermann Zapf spacing a piece in Adrian Wilson’s _The Design of Books_, and most texts on Jan Tschichold touch on his technique as well.

As I noted, good books on calligraphy usually cover spacing well (IME, calligraphers are competent to evaluate any sort of letterform execution, while typographers will often get hung up on character shapes when attempting to assess calligraphy or letterforms cut in stone). Most libraries will have books on calligraphy. A good online selection is http://66.147.242.192/~operinan/8/index.html

Discussions on this sort of thing from another forum:

- http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread. ... munication
- http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread. ... er-carving
- http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread. ... ts-Example

If anyone wants to put up designs before cutting them out, there’s a lot of expertise and good taste here — we could all critique w/ an eye towards how they might be made better.
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cvoinescu
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by cvoinescu » Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:20 pm

I have re-read Will Adams's* back-and-forth with the naysayers of competent typography, for whom mere intelligibility is about the best one can hope for. (I'm a sucker for entertainment where the pedants are the good guys.) At some point, someone in the "meh" camp says that using the wrong type of quote is not akin to making a table that's slightly crooked. For the author, of course it isn't. But for the typographer, and to some extent the editor, it is very much the exact same thing: you're doing your job poorly. The fact that many people won't know the difference does not excuse it.

That kerning article, though, is much better than nothing. I think it's a good start for non-professionals.

* I am well aware that the straight quote is not the right character to use here (or pretty much anywhere that's not a computer program). However, I'm also of the opinion that there are different modes of writing, and email and forum posts are informal enough that I can be excused when I prioritize saving time and not breaking the flow over correct typography. These are not excuses when editing a book, though. Anything at or above the "wiki article" level of formality merits proper quotes; this includes nearly everything that's likely to be printed or converted to PDF.
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WillAdams
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Re: Great Kerning Article

Post by WillAdams » Mon Feb 08, 2016 3:49 pm

One of the reasons I really like TeX is that it will properly convert easily typed characters into ``proper'' curly quotes. Also multiple hyphens will be converted into en (--) and em (---) dashes.
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