Kerning League Gothic

navy nurse smile's picture

Is the kerning here alright? I'm especially unsure about the /gs/, /li/ and /hi/. Also about the space between the words. The design demands everything to be evenly spaced out, but I've looked at it for so long...

Thanks for any comments

oldnick's picture

Well, the design made have demanded it, but it is readily apparent that the design doesn’t know squat about kerning…IMHO.

Font designers spend a great deal of time adjusting inter-letter spacing so that the end result is aesthetically pleasing. What credentials does the design have which would override such judicious spacing, hmmmm?

hrant's picture

Change the "g" so it fits better.


tmac's picture

I think you can use 2 approaches to this:

1. close-but-not-touching. This is more mechanical, and will probably leave a few holes. But it's one way to do it.

2. Triplets. Isolate 3 letters and make sure the middle letter looks optically centred. Take the "ngs" triplet, and you will see that the "g" is too far left. Once the "g" is balanced, then the "n" in the "ing" triplet will probably look a bit off. So balance that "n", and then move on to the next triplet. And so on.

You should try both these methods out and post the results. Also, print it out, squint at it, look at it upside down (either by doing a head-stand or simply rotating the page, whichever works best for you). And then -- repost.

tmac's picture

Also: what hrant said. That's definitely an option. Start with the ear.

navy nurse smile's picture

Sorry, I was a bit tired and expressed myself terribly in the OP. I meant to write more about the whole design, but decided it ultimately doesn't matter. The "even spacing" comment wasn't directed at the kerning, just something I forgot to delete.

Anyway, thanks for the advice. Here's my second attempt.

Critique welcome.

charles ellertson's picture

For me, and you need to know I'm mainly a text guy, the whole thing is too tight. This shows up with there being too much optical space between the double t's -- a problem with a lot of fonts -- and the s paired with the g, which everyone sees.

(From my perspective) One solution is to get the negative space right, and not worry about whether or not the letters touch. The second is the same, but adding the requirement that the letters not touch means setting everything a bit looser.

I think I can get display right, at least, for a book, but having said that, it's still usually 36-point or smaller. In your sample, one way you can go is to break up the existing rhythm by breaking things to a new line. That gives you just a little breathing room. You can further that by changing type size on a some lines. It all has to fit, to balance. Just how you get there is another matter.

In short, rhythm is a demanding master, but you can sometimes change it and get away with things. It is when the rhythm gets broken within a work that you have to compromise for the most awkward paring, and let that dictate the line.

In this example with "gs", I'd try condensing the "s" maybe 1-2 percent. "s" close to perfect with "wheels," but not in "things." Don't think 2 percent would hurt the "s" in "wheels," as far as that goes. Maybe even a little more condensing would work --

Lots of little spacing issues with this font, but that's true with a lot of fonts that are "commercial," as well.

navy nurse smile's picture

The tt bothers me the most, it really doesn't work at all. I tried to play around with putting title and name in two lines but I don't think I can make that work. For reference, here's a rough sketch of the design:

I know it's probably not a conventional solution but how do you think it looks when the t's are touching each other? IMO that at least somewhat fixes the problem. Is it bad? Maybe get them even closer together?

Great Idea with condensing the s though. In this version both are condensed by 3%, but it still feels akward. I cut off a bit off a tiny bit off the ear:

charles ellertson's picture

I think you've gotten the "s" condensed just a bit much. As far as I'm concerned, the touching t's are preferable (some wouldn't accept it at all), and since they already touch, get the space between them smaller still. If you use a font editing program, you can go into the font & make up special characters as you need them. It's an open source font...

BTW, as a general comment, at our shop, we only expect the kerning in a font to work for text-size setting. With 300+ pages, you don't want to be adjusting things by hand. On the other hand, we assume any display type will need handwork.


hrant's picture

I guess first decide how much time you want to spend on this...
Because there's a lot of stuff to fix (I mean at the letterform level).


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