Kerning refers to the process of adjusting the space between letters in typesetting and graphic design.
The word originally comes from the French carne, meaning projecting angle or quill of a pen. In the days of manual typesetting, letters were placed on individual metal blocks known as glyphs. If a letter overlapped the following letter (e.g. a capital T before a capital A), the overlapping parts (the bars of the T), would protrude over the edge of the glyph, and these exposed parts of the letter were known as kerns.
You might not think kerning is important, especially because most digital text is automatically kerned for your pleasure. Here’s a nice example from Wikipedia of the benefits of kerning:
That little chap there is by far and away the punctuation mark that causes people the most consternation, for a variety of reasons. Some hate it because they have no idea what to do with it, and others hate it because those first people have no idea what to do with it, and it drives them crazy to see it misused or not used at all. Before getting into why people have difficulties with it, and why that infuriates others, let’s look at the basic rules of using the apostrophe. It has three basic functions: Continue reading
Quick, answer these questions:
- What colour is this?
2. What do you put in a toaster?
You might have answered green and toast, instead of, of course, red and bread. Though perhaps not, as these tricks usually work better verbally. Continue reading