Kerning the Space to Glyph and Glyph to Spaces

Thomas HelbigThomas Helbig Posts: 26
edited June 2017 in Technique and Theory
Is it common to kern letters agains spaces and vice versa?
Depending on the nature of the glyph word spaces can vary optically.
I suppose the problem is most visible in tripplets, which i have no experience with…


  • It all depends on your design and the spacing of your typeface. I have added kerning with spaces in several designs. 
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,273
    I don’t do that, but in some typefaces I have addressed the issue by implementing large negative sidebearings for the relevant glyphs, which are then corrected for normal combinations by kerning. My rationale is that while applications don’t consistently use the space character for spacing, they are more likely to observe kerning. And this method also withstands “Optical” kerning.

  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,536
    edited June 2017
    I think it can make sense in display types that will be used at sizes where a wide space sticks out, especially lighter sans serifs. I find the results in book fonts generally solve no problems and cause weird collisions like “for you” becoming “foryou” that interrupt reading. I've even seen this in some great types, used by great designers, in their own books. Nobody has ever complained when don't kern to space, but I've had complaints when I did. So my rule is to only kern to space if I'm sure it's and egregious flaw otherwise.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,273
    There were early digital versions of Gill Sans and Myriad in which the kerning was a little over-enthusiastic, and had the problems James refers to; I certainly observed this, working with those types as an art director at the time, and it has informed my practice as a type designer.

    In general, I don’t like types that are too smoothly spaced. Mashed potatoes, sure, but not creamed.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,375
    I will add a positive kern (letterspacing) between an f and a following space if the hook of the f has a wide overhang, otherwise it will appear too close to a following word, especially if the latter begins with a capital or an ascender. For extra refinement, this can be contextual.
  • J_TillmanJ_Tillman Posts: 7
    I started a new thread regarding Nick Shinn's mashed potatoes preference.

Sign In or Register to comment.