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kern me

If you know what the kerning of text is, then go ahead and test your skills out. If you don't know what kerning is, you should definitely read this article and then try out your knowledge. You won't beat our 87% first time score though....

If there is one thing that gets us shouting at the television, it is the bad kerning of text. It's one of those things that once you know what it is, bad kerning stands out worse than the odd spelling mistake.

What is kerning? Kerning is adjusting the spacing of letters so that a word is easy to read. The area between characters should be the same, so for example the letters A and V need to be squeezed closer together than others. Just watch programme credits when the name 'DAVID' appears to see how far apart the A and V look if they haven't been kerned correctly. Some character generators will roughly kern a proportional font, some character or text generators won't and there are times when you just have to get in there and do it yourself. Extra kerning is also a handy way of getting that long name of a interviewee into the safe area.

The website Kerntype has a test of your kerning skills for you to try out. On our first attempt we got 87% which included four 100% scores. We challenge you to do better, but then again we have been kerning text for a long time!

If you do any motion graphics that involve text, even simple name supers, you need to know about kerning. Bad kerning is also one quick way of spotting an amateur production. Kerning doesn't stop at letters either, numbers can have the same fate. Dates like 1999 can look odd with the one and the nines looking like separate numbers!

Now who can remember graphic operators at the back of suites clicking away letter by letter to kern a name togther? Gamma shift left anybody?