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A: Can someone point me to a tutorial explaining the drawing tools in Fontlab.
B: How much do you space before you start kerning? Are there any good methods around? (Like strings of letters?)
A: Learn Fontlab Fast
B: Draw the entire face and do as much spacing as possible before you start kerning. I find it a little easier to start with the common and egregious pairs like AVA, AWA, T, F. Once you nail down those you can use them to check the spacing a second time. After that set every letter set against every other letter and relevant punctuation in Indesign. Use that to build text files to import into the metrics window. If you have $500 Tal Leming’s app Metrics Machine will make this process exponentially faster. Spacing and kerning words will go much faster and be easier if you stick to languages you do not know and if you view pages upside-down or sideways.
Get it onscreen, test in print, repeat until you want to die, then start testing using lists of words like Leslie Cabarga’s Kern King or one section from the UN Declaration of Human Rights in every single language your encoding will support. It also helps to check pairs in different light—inside, outside, in subway cars, at coffee shops, etc. Do it with the TV on to keep yourself distracted from the words and just look at the spaces.