Yearning to Kern

One of our newest On Paper Press designs 

You don’t need to a be a highly trained graphic designer or artistically inclined to notice when a design is off; a lot of design is intuitive! Identifying and fixing what that “off” thing is, though, is a whole other bag of donuts, (blogging at lunchtime over here!), and that’s when design training is invaluable.

May we introduce you to Lynsey, our graphic designer, who will introduce you to the art of kerning? Born and raised nearish Cleveland, Lynsey went to Miami of Ohio where she studied interior and graphic design. We rely on Lynsey to put our dream fonts, motifs, and color palettes together in perfect harmony for our On Paper Press design studio. And, when it comes time to assemble a suite, she wrangles belly bands and ribbons with the best of ‘em!

Fun fact: Lynsey does not like chocolate so we celebrate her birthday with treats of the liquid variety 

But what is this perfect harmony we speak of?  Well, part of it involves KERNING. Kerning is the act of adjusting the space between individual letters.

What the heck is keming? (Super helpful example from an article on "The Conversation") 

Typography is an art unto itself; the original designer of a font has done a lot of work to make sure their typeface is ready to roll straight out of the gate, but when it comes to highly flourished scripts, fonts with glyph options, and generally finessing a design, adjusting the kerning might just be the difference between illegible and legible, an OK design and a great design.

Let's look at an invitation before Lynsey works her magic, and keep in mind this features a pretty classic serif font without any of the extra jazz mentioned above.

The above was created with kerning set to "auto"

Look at how close the E and T in the bride's middle name are. Yikes! Too close for comfort if you ask us. Now let's look at the invitation after Lynsey gets involved.

Oh hey, vastly improved design

Not only do the letters relate better to one another, the design feels more sophisticated. Full disclosure, this second example also illustrates TRACKING, or the spacing between all characters (not just two letters).  "Michelle Elizabeth" contains fewer letters than "David Palmer Wilson" so we needed to increase the tracking on the bride's name so it would start and end at the same points as the groom's. Tracking is a whole other bag of donuts, but it's just as important: if you want a more open feeling for an entire design it might work to increase tracking from "0" to "110" like we did for the portions above and below the couple's names.

We hope you enjoyed this briefest of introductions to kerning and tracking, and to our expert, Lynsey. She is literally the b e s t.


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