What is Kerning? Why is it Important?

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If you’re learning about typography and how to choose the best fonts for your website, you’ll probably come across the term “kerning.”

So what is kerning and why should you care? Believe it or not, kerning is a key concept that can dramatically impact the way your website looks. To ensure your site is clean and easy to read, kerning is something you’ll want to learn about.

What Exactly is Kerning?

Kerning is the amount of space between characters. To ensure your content is easy to read, it’s important that your letters aren’t too close and aren’t too far. Without the right placement, your content can look awkward and confusing for readers.

Most fonts have a default kerning so that you don’t have to fuss around with them too much. That said, some letter combinations might look awkward so you’ll want to adjust the kerning to improve readability. The end goal is for all the letters to look equally spaced even if they technically aren’t.

Types of Kerning

Web designers can adjust the kerning using a program like Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator. However, since fonts are made to look their best, there’s usually not a lot of work that needs to be done with them. It’s only when there are specific issues (i.e., certain letter combinations) that the spacing needs to be changed, or when using an unconventional or decorative font.

Here are the different types of kerning that web designers use:

  • Auto kerning is an algorithm built into a typeface by the designer and this automatically determines the spacing.
  • Optical kerning is another form of auto kerning that is built into the typeface. It’s different from auto kerning, though, because it uses the shape of the letters rather than a built-in algorithm to determine spacing.
  • Manual kerning is when the designer lets their eyes determine the amount of spacing that’s best. The problem with this type of kerning is that it’s very time consuming.

Importance of Kerning

If you’re hiring a web designer to design and build your website, they’ll take care of the kerning for you. They’re experts at this, after all. However, if you’re choosing to build your own website, it’s worth learning about kerning. Here are some reasons why kerning is important:

  • It helps your website look neat and professional
  • It’s easier for people to read and understand your content
  • It avoids overlapping letters
  • It avoids pesky gaps in between letters

Kerning is something that takes time and practice. If you’d prefer to invest your time in your business rather than typography, contact Magna Technology. We will provide you with a beautiful, optimized website that’s legible, easy to read and affordable.