Space width

edited October 2016 in Technique and Theory
Dear guys
anyone knows how space width is defined according to other glyphs?
Thank you all in advance.


  • I would usually start with 70% - 100% the width of lowercase /i and then eyeball it for fine tuning. There were several threads about this, here and over (currently down), but I cannot seem to find them so easily... 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited October 2016
    The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • Put a word that's loose on the right followed by a word that's loose on the left. See how tight you can go (at the low end of the intended point size range) before the words get too cozy. Then loosen it a hair.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    I compare different widths in a layout application—you can do that with a single font—and see which looks best.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    I generally start with 250 (four-to-em) or 200 (five-to-em), as James suggested, and adjust to taste. And like Nick, I often use a layout app (InDesign) to test various increments to hone in on what seems optimum for targeted size and setting.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,457
    I find that the lighter weights need a bit more wordspace than the bolder weights.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited October 2016
    It depends on lots of factors, and you always need to test and refine by eye.

    But also, if you measure lots of fonts and put the result in excel, you may get a Median result that looks something like this:
    For Sans: n advancewidth / 32 * 15(±2)
    For Serifs: n advancewidth / 32 * 13(±2)

    For example:
    If you have a Sans and the /n advancewidth is 400 units, then
    400/32*(15-2)= 162 (Smaller deviation)
    400/32*15 = 187 (Median)
    400/32*(15+2) = 212 (Biggest deviation)

    if you have a Serif and the /n advancewidth is 400 units, then
    400/32*(13-2)= 137 (Smaller deviation)
    400/32*13 = 162 (Median)
    400/32*(13+2) = 187 (Biggest deviation)

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,102
    I sometimes put a slightly wider "” for all-cap setting.
  • What about the space width difference between styles from say Thin to Black, or even considering Hairline?
  • Lighter weights have wider counters and broader spaces. Bolder weights get smaller counters and tighter spaces.
  • Pablo: Did you do that just with "regular" weight fonts? Per my comment above, within a family, as weight increases, usually advance widths go up and space widths go down.
  • PabloImpallariPabloImpallari Posts: 773
    edited October 2016
    Yep, those results measured fonts in the Book/Regular/Medium range only
  • Thank you all for the precious help!
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