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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kerning Me Softly

At first this just appears to be a bit of typographic frivolity: kerning type online.

However, if this concept could be extended to web design in general, then we might be onto something huge.

Incidentally, for anyone interested in niggling details of typographic nomenclature, ’kerning’ was used in letterpress to mean cutting away opposing corners from the body of two letterforms to get a tighter visual fit between them. Technically, to add space between letter forms is not kerning, but is in fact letter spacing. Spacing material is an artifact of metal type as well, being a number of different metal shims—brass, copper, zinc, even paper—filed between two letter forms to get a looser visual fit between them. It appears that in our digital age kerning has won out as the universal term for these two separate activities, which appear so similar in our design software.