In Typography, Kerning is the process of adjusting the spacing between only two characters in a proportional typeface, mainly to achieve an optically pleasing result. So, the reader does not have a readability problem while reading. A well-kerned typeface is a typeface in which the blank spaces between characters have an optically similar area, and mathematically not.

 

Visual Representation of Kerning
Visual Representation of Kerning

proportional or varying-widths typeface is the typeface which has characters of varying widths. Example of proportional typefaces is Serif and Sans-Serif Typefaces, which has varying widths of characters. Garamond, Helvetica, Century Gothic, and Baskerville etc. are such examples of proportional typefaces.

While a non-proportional or fixed-widths typeface is the typeface which has characters of fixed widths. ‘Roboto Mono’ and Courier are such examples of non-proportional typefaces.

Difference between Proportional and Non-Proportional Typeface
Difference between Proportional and Non-Proportional Typeface
Paragraphs in Proportional and Non-Proportional Typefaces
Paragraphs in Proportional and Non-Proportional Typefaces

Now, there are four basic guidelines to consider whenever you’re kerning your typefaces.

1. If you have a Curved Character next to a Curved Character. The spacing between the characters should be Very Tight because you have all this open space at the top and bottom of the characters. This spacing fools the eye into perceiving more space than there really is.

Kerning Rule 1 - Curved Against Curve will be tight Spacing
Kerning Rule 1

2. If you have a Straight Vertical Character next to a Straight Vertical Character. The spacing between the characters should have Very Open Spacing, if you didn’t do that, it would feel too tight.

Kerning Rule 1 - Straight Vertical against Straight Vertical will be Open Spacing
Kerning Rule 2

3. If you have a Curved Character next to a Straight Vertical Character. The spacing between the characters should be Considered Normal and you can’t assign a value to it, because you could decide you want to have tight spacing, to begin with, that means everything would tighten up a little bit and your curve against curve would be even tighter than it should be in a normal space.

Kerning Rule 3, Straight Vertical against Curved will be Normal Spacing
Kerning Rule 3

4. If you have a Diagonal Character next to a Diagonal Character, such as w, x, y. The spacing between the characters would be again Very Tight.

Kerning Rule 4, Diagonal against Diagonal will be very tight spacing
Kerning Rule 4

5. If you have a Curved Character next to a Diagonal Character. The spacing between the characters should be Very Tight because you have all this open space in between.

Kerning Rule 5, Diagonal against Curved will be Tight Spacing
Kerning Rule 5

6. If you have a Straight Vertical Character next to a Diagonal Character. The spacing between the characters should be Considered Normal.

Kerning Rule 6, Diagonal against Straight Vertical will be Normal Spacing
Kerning Rule 6

These are some of the basic guidelines which will help you out in the process of kerning, and there is also this kerning game on the internet which I found, which will help you to improve your Kerning.

Kerning Gamehttp://type.method.ac/

Happy Playing and Learning 🙂