Spacing sans serif body copy font

I'm designing fonts for body copy; I've finished basic LC, UC, and numerals. I want them to be exactly spaced to reduce kerning work. I've spaced H and n (rectangular characters) and O and o (oval characters). I am having trouble spacing diagonal, open countered, and other characters. I read somewhere that we may space other miscellaneous letters by referring to rectangular and oval characters, such as V, which can have a spacing of 0.8xH's. Could someone perhaps assist me in determining the spatial relationships between rectangular and oval characters?


  • Craig Eliason
    Craig Eliason Posts: 1,417
    I think you have to go by eye rather than by formula. But if you have your "control characters" down, you can use them to eyeball the best sidebearings for the others, by looking at test strings like
    nnvnn oovoo novno onvon
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,058
    edited July 3
    What Craig said, with the added proviso that for text fonts for body copy your basic spacing of uppercase should be uc-to-lc, i.e. tighter than all-caps typography. So I would check your diagonal uppercase also with following lowercase ascenders and dot letters: Vlad Victim Whim Will and so forth.

    Very many sans serif types are too tightly spaced for typical body copy text sizes, and hence benefit from a bit of positive tracking when so used. If you want to tailor your type’s spacing specifically for body text, then I recommend looking at the spacing of other types produced in that way, e.g. Evert Bloemsma’s Legato, rather than at fonts such as Helvetica whose digital versions inherited spacing from larger sizes.