Perfectly Kerning Helvetica?

Thinkdust's picture

I have been kerning type equally now for a couple of years, however I want to take things further with Helvetica. Can anyone tell me if any guides are available on perfect kerning for the typeface Helvetica.

For example manual kerning with equal space just doesn't feel enough for me, if you have a sentence with the letter 'e' in twice next to each other, the equal spaced kerning throughs the balance off and the word starts to look different in comparison to letters that kern nicely with equal spacing.

So with that all in mind, does anyone have any advice on taking kerning further in order to balance words perfectly, and finding what spaces work with what letters etc,

Many Thanks,
Alex.

charles ellertson's picture

As you have observed, letterfit is contextual -- kerning is usually taken to be the letterfit between a pair of letters without regard to context.

"Perfect" seems to ask for a mathematical solution. You might find one when the letters too have a mathematical construction, say, all vertical strokes at 90 degrees, as often found in LED displays. But we tend to reject that, and like the letters themselves, letterfit becomes an aesthetic matter, allowing for varying opinions. One obvious example is the varyious kerning approaches taken with the apostrophe. Some like it so tight it becomes almost a diacritical, others feel it deserves it's own space, like a letter.

Once varying opinion enters the equation, common agreement is usually achieved only by the time-honored practice of the threat.

If you don't give me the deed to your ranch,
I'll throw you on the railroad tracks.

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