Friday, April 12, 2019

A to Z Challenge - K for kerning

Theme - Journalism jargons
This is another typography term, and it refers to the space between two letters in a word.

For aesthetic purposes, newspaper designers who work on news pages resort to adjusting this space. This happens mostly in headlines, and not so much in the article text. 

Since all letters of our alphabet are not of the same shape, when some of them are adjacent to each other, the spacing between different letters of words wouldn't be uniform. The most well-known example is when letters A and V or W or Y are beside each other.

Source: Practical Typography
Between those two letters, there will be more space compared to when i and j and adjacent to each other. So, the designer will manually adjust to space so that the spacings are uniform to facilitate easier eye movement across words of a sentence. Kerning can be set to happen automatically as well.


There is no one-rule-fits-all solution for this. Whether to kern or not, if so, how much or how less, depends on many factors like which are the letters we are talking about, the size of the font, whether there are lines above and below etc.

It's more to do with the look for the word in a larger context. However, in most cases, words of a sentence look better to our eyes when they are closer to each other rather than when they are spaced out.

(This post is a part of the "Blogging from A to Z Challenge April 2019".)


  1. Kerning is a term I know, though I'm not sure exactly why. I suppose it's when I used to develop a newsletter for one former employer. ~grin~ Be well!

  2. @ Darla - Thanks for the comment. I am glad you knew about the jargon.

  3. All the letters are not identical in size. Son are broad-based and some are broad-headed. So perfect kerning may be impossible.Anyway this word is new to me. Thank for such information.

  4. Hi Sarala - Thanks for the comments. Glad to know that the post was useful to you.

  5. I would imagine kerning would be employed if you wanted both margins of the text justified.

  6. @ Liz - Yes, it also avoids hyphenation.

  7. This is a new word for me (and one that comes from an old tradition).

    Interesting theme you have going for your A-to-Z! :)