kerning Futura

etahchen's picture

Question. When kerning, the goal is to make the word have a consistent texture right?
So for the word "EFFECTIVE" set in Futura (light),
The capital 'C' has so much white space in the counter compared to the rest of the
capital letters. Would this need a lot of space between the letters, so the
C's counter doesn't look so white compared to the rest of the word?
I see people track words in this same situation very tight. Is that just a fashionable
thing to do? Or is that the correct way? Thanks for your help Typophiles.
I'm not sure why i cannot upload images. But here is an image of what I mean.

Arthus's picture

The correct thing to do is to take the trickiest combination in your word, space, or kern it properly to a width you find acceptable, and use this 'optical white' on the rest of the combinations. So while your wide solution is a bit over the top in width, it's much better than going for the first solution.

Of course this is only if you are able to give it that amount of attention, usually only the difficult pair needs a different value. Also, when letter-spacing properly (for titles or whatever) it's also easier to start of wide and make small adjustments backwards, tightening it up.

About it being fashionable, I don't really know, you see extremes on both ways quite often in everything that tries to be design-ey. Light weights are the fashion lately though, probably because of the popularity of HFJ type.

etahchen's picture

Understood. Thank you Arthus.

Nick Shinn's picture

Light weights are the fashion lately…

Seeing the Light

The Thin types that I listed in the article were pretty much the only fonts available in 2001 that went truly Thin (not Thesis, for instance, despite its many weights), so apart from Neue Helvetica, you can see Font Bureau’s role in developing new Thin types—especially Frere-Jones’ conception (this was before he joined Hoefler) of the “Hairline” which he applied to Interstate. Those two types were, I think, instrumental in popularizing the genre (more so than my Bodoni Egyptian, which may have been noticed by type designers, but has never been a really popular face).

I note in the article that Sam Stitt used Futura small to create a Thin effect.

Concerning Futura, I had seen it used in the 1970s and 80s set very tight, and even set it like that myself a few times—it had/has a quite nice effect that way in the upper and lower case, but not so much in the all-cap setting.

William Berkson's picture

There are different versions of Futura and different proportions in different weights. In think in your version the difference in width between EFT and C is quite extreme. Maybe another version or weight would help you.

etahchen's picture

Thanks a lot guys. Those were very thorough answers

etahchen's picture

Oh, what would you suggest as a good Futura to acquire? I tried medium instead of light and its a lot better actually.

William Berkson's picture

People have said that the ND version is the most accurate. I don't know if the light weight is original, though. I question how wide the light C is, compared to the heavier weights. I suspect the problem is that they were also trying to harmonize with the geometric O. You can see in the heavier weights the E and C get closer to the same width and typographic color. If you just go on MyFonts and search on Futura you can compare for yourself. The Bitstream version might work for you.

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