Typography: Kerning


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In typography, kerning is the process of adjusting the space between individual letter forms.

Example: I type out the word “Shop” and I don’t like the spacing between the letters. Whether I want more space between the letters or less it is the same. I need to adjust the space and I want it to be the same throughout.

Option 1: Illustrator’s Type Window for Kerning.

First we go to the type tool and type in the word “Shop”.
Then under Window-Type-Character, we can select the font we want to use along with several other options. Notice on the bottom right there’s “A V” and beside it says “0”. This option is one way to do kerning.


So let’s make the letters closer and adjust the kerning to “-75″.


However, notice that the spacing between “h”, “o”, and “p” is not the same as “s” and “h”. This is a very common thing. You’re not always going to get the kerning perfect on the first try with this option. So what do you do? Well you can select “s” and adjust the spacing that way.

Or you can try Option 2, which is what I prefer to do.

Option 2: Manually do the Kerning.

For the most part, my personal preference is to do the kerning manually. Especially if it’s for something important such as a logo. So what I do is I type each letter out individually. Then I use Illustrator’s ruler (Ctrl+R) or (Command+R) and grids to make sure everything is lined up. So the first grid I bring down from the ruler is a horizontal one for all the letters to sit on. From there I place each letter accordingly and use vertical grids from the ruler to make sure that the spacing is the same throughout.

This way may seem like the longer route and in many ways it is, but I prefer this option because I know that my kerning will be done right.


Kerning is used to bring symmetry in not only typography but in any design that use text. If you didn’t know about kerning before this post, I challenge you start looking at the spaces between letters on popular designs and you will notice that great designs use kerning and many local businesses that have bad designs do not.

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