Spacing Help?

nina's picture

Not really an excitingly thought out logo, more like a wordmark / website header kind of thing. (This is the original screen size it'll be shown in.)

If anyone feels like looking at this and commenting, particularly about spacing!,
I'd be very grateful. I think I've been looking at this too long… plus I suck
at spacing.  :-{

Does that "S" look unhappy in there or is it just me?


spacing-variations-tp.pdf228.67 KB
jupiterboy's picture

I worked with this for a moment and added some space between the letters in most cases and took a little off the leg of the Ls. That all helped a bit, but you do have some tough pairs.

I also tightened the leading a bit and let that W hang over a bit to the left—optically aligned left.

nina's picture

Thanks a bunch, James. I was thinking it may be a bit tight overall; I took
the original "UE" as a starting point, which probably was too tight to begin with.
Oh, and slicing a bit off the "L"s is a wicked idea. Those are quite bothersome.

I'll try to recreate what you said & get back with that.

nina's picture

OK – I think it feels a little more comfortable now, though I'm not sure about all
of these evil combinations. What do you think?

jupiterboy's picture

Looks better to me. Very close to what I arrived at, FWIW.

nina's picture

Cool! Thanks again. :-)
If anyone thinks some combinations are still off, please let me know. I've still got
a couple of weeks before I'll meet with this client.

apankrat's picture

'U' stands out for me as having a bit too much space on either side.

gerald's picture

the UE looks a bit too spaced to me

nina's picture

Did a little more work on this (most notably "UE")… better?

Justin_Ch's picture

I see the S as looking unhappy too. It seems slightly deflated.

litera's picture

S is falling to the right. That's what's going on. So if you'd try rotating it a bit in CCW direction it may help. Try it.
Robert Koritnik

nina's picture

Thanks for the input. Robert, that's a good point. I hoped I could get away without actually touching those lettershapes, but here I go… I really like Prelo, but it does seem to need special attention.
Will get back with this later today (Monday), need to get some other stuff done first… cheers!

paragraph's picture

Personally, I'd have tighter tracking, but that could be my vintage (huh). Or quite a bit looser ... Chunky fonts look weird with normal text spacing.


Ratbaggy's picture

"I’d have tighter tracking"

Paul Ducco
Graphic Designer
Short Film Festival

hrant's picture

These samples are all too small to properly tweak the spacing.

BTW, have you thought of a "scrabble" arrangement with the three words?


nina's picture

Thanks again for all the input. I've done some more work on the spacing (it does look better tighter, I think – thanks) and tried to tweak the "S" into feeling a little happier. What do you guys say?

I've attached a PDF too, up top (spacing-variations-tp.pdf). Sorry about the small samples: I was thinking it might be best to judge this at its intended size (it's going to be used on screen long before anything else).

Hrant, I did quite a bit of "playing around" with those words earlier in this project; a scrabble/crossword idea was in there. The client ended up being happiest with this "plain & simple" solution, which also fits the assignment pretty well.
The web site is trying to be "serious", but to avoid being boring; there is a little bit of a barely perceptible, and unexpected, twist built in, but that is going to happen outside of the type (in the grid).

hrant's picture

> it’s going to be used on screen long before anything else

Oh, OK then.
For the sake of time I will deal with whole pixels only. :-)

- Take the top line one pixel right.
- Bring the bottom line one pixel lower.
- I'd make the "LTE" one pixel tighter.
The rest looks fine to me.

- For the vertical stems, make the edges that are anti-aliased (like on the left of the first "L") solid black.
- The anti-aliasing, especially on the diagonals, seems strange; did you do a Curves on one of the earlier dark-gray versions?
- The "M"s are clearly too dark.
- The "W" and the "A"s are a hair too dark as well.
- I'd make the "L"s narrower.
- Lower the bar of the "A"s.
- Try making the "S" narrower.


paragraph's picture

I still feel that the W and M should be centred, rather than aligned left, because of the very strong correlation of the 'v' shapes.
The space between L and T is still too big for my liking (squinting helps ;)

peterf's picture


How about this:

Shortening the limb of the L helps maintain a steady rhythm in the negative spaces. (Maybe even the F and E as well... I'd have to live with this for a while to be comfortable with it...)

I would tighten the space until the negative spaces around the letters are visually balancing the counters within the glyph.

The "S" might need to be a little wider and a hair or pixel taller.
I would agree that the M is a little dark, perhaps allow the points of the bottom notches to rise a couple of pixels

Too bad about the order of the names ;-)
Any chance to make them right-aligned, and maybe put a red square in there?


PS, altaira, 10000 thanks for your correct use of {its} and {it's}
Good designer! Has apostrophe-fu! (Almost Free Letterpress!) - Galena, Illinois

hrant's picture

Peter, your "WO", "LF", "AM" and "UE" are too tight.

But good point about the "S" needing to be taller.
And the top of the "O" and the bottom of the "U"
seem to need the same fix.


nina's picture

Oh wow, this is major work coming up.  :-| Thanks everyone! (No, I mean that.)

I was hoping I wouldn't have to do so much to the letterforms themselves, but looking at this from a type design (instead of a logo design) perspective, I'll have
to agree with all of your points, Hrant.
(For the record, I have already made the "S" quite a bit taller, and rotated it, and tweaked the curves. "Deflated" was a very apt description, Justin.)

Hrant, no weird Photoshop action on that anti-aliasing. Those are basically screenshots from AI (hit me if that's a bad thing to do). I did however make it black this time instead of the final dark gray, since I figured that may make it easier to judge the "pure" shapes.

Jan/paragraph: That's a big dilemma with the "W"/"M" alignment. I tried visually aligning the counters (it's tempting), but I felt it made the whole alignment feel
a bit wacky. (Also, this will appear basically as left-aligned on the web site, and I'd like to keep it from looking too "designed" – if that makes any sense.)

Peter, I guess that's subjective, but your version feels a bit "constipated" to me
(no offense – that's the word/feeling that sprung to mind!). Also, this doesn't really need to pack such a visual "punch" – it may appear to be "normal text" more or less.
But, thanks for the compliment – I confess to be serious about spelling (as far as my command of English permits).

Cheers! Will get back with an updated version soon.

peterf's picture

Hrant, nice to see you, too!

Not 'too' tight at all, my dear fellow. There's an inevitable variation within the pattern, of course.
But I completely stand by the spacing here, within the limits of the few moments taken to produce this...

Perhaps "constipated" ;-), but my sense of these strong letters themselves is that they want to form a close association.
Too much inter-letter space creates vertical rivers. Porous, rather than unified.

It's about texture here, and IMHO, don't think the pattern is wrong in the least.

Touché ;-)

Nina, as I said, I would want to live with the variations for a while before making a final choice.

Another important test: turn it upside down!


P (Almost Free Letterpress!) - Galena, Illinois

nina's picture

Peter, no need to get all upset. I think tracking is quite subjective, plus highly dependent on context and concept. There isn't one "right" version & everything else would be "wrong."
In this case, I do think your version, while it does have visual appeal, (a) doesn't fit the concept/context/client/application/idea, and (b) also isn't my style. (By which I don't mean to imply some artistic conceit, but am trying to say I wouldn't do it that way, and it also doesn't look good to me – which comes back to the subjective nature of this.)

For the record, I am turning this upside down all the time (in print and on the screen). I also have my fancy Command-Alt-Control-8 key combo that inverts the screen, which is also quite handy. But yeah, I'll put this stuff up on my wall and, like you said, live with it for a while.
Though yours does feel constipated.  ;-) (SCNR.)

(And rivers could always be offset by leading… I'm not quite sure it couldn't be more open.)

paragraph's picture

Nina, you have done your due dilligence, just go for it ;-)

chadengle's picture (minus the black line around it)
I think some good suggestions have been given but I would try experimenting with the W as I did in the link. It makes the grid (lines off the M) look a ton more clean and uniform.
Good Luck!

nina's picture

Barring any life-threatening concerns,* I'll be considering this final.

(* Which might, in fact, be apposite since I tried tweaking some of those glyphs ["L", "M", "W", "A", "S", as well as the overshoots of "O" and "U"].)

No serious tweaking of pixels / anti-aliasing done. I tried but it was messing up
the weights / stem widths quite badly; and frankly, spending another two hours
on minute corrections to the bitmapped version was beginning to feel excessive.

Thanks again for your collective keen eyes! I'm sure my client will be happier
than he'll even realize.  :->

Ratbaggy's picture

I know it's chiming in pretty late ... A and M (Wolfram) feel a little cast aside lost

and UE

but I dunno ... I've never been confident in providing feedback on kerning ... I'd do it differently is all. :)

Paul Ducco
Graphic Designer
Short Film Festival

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