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So when might you want to manually kern your type? I'm not talking about the auto-kerning of Metrics, or Optical, but manual kerning. So here are a few examples. Sometimes when you use a drop cap, depending on the character that you're using, you may find that you have a collision with the characters that come after, and that is indeed the case right here. To fix this, I am going to double-click to insert my cursor between the drop cap and the letter that follows, and then press Option or Alt and the right arrow to increase the space.
Now, when I do that, something odd happens. The first time you do that, rather than the space getting looser, it actually jumps all the way over to the left, and gets tighter. That's just the way it is; that just happens. So I'm going to continue to press Option or Alt and the right arrow. Now, since I want to move in large increments, I am also going to throw in the Command or Control key to that combination, and now I let go of the Command or Control key just to move in smaller increments until I get to about there. Now, we can see that when we are applying kerning in this sort of instance, it's moving not just the one line, but however many lines are affected by the drop cap.
So there is one example. Now I am going to move to the next page, and I have here a word that is going to be problematic when we view it at larger sizes. Now, at this text size, we don't need to do anything about it; we are just going to leave it as is. But if I decide that we want to work with this type significantly larger, I am going to copy that text frame, and I am going to scale it up by holding Command and Shift, or Control+Shift, and dragging out to the right, like so.
So what we have here is the A leaning away from the diagonal on the W, and then we have the same sort of thing, but in mirror, with the A and the V, and then we have the angle of the V up against the straight sided character, the I, and then the straight sided edge of the N up against the curve of the G. So a number of issues that we have here; this is a problematic word to be working with at display sizes. So I am going to insert my cursor between these two characters.
And incidentally, just before I do that, it's an old trick that if you want to better see where the kerning problems are in your document, print out the page, look at it upside down, and squint. Now, obviously I can't do that here for you, but we could rotate the spread, and arguably, if we squint out that, perhaps we can more clearly see where the spacing looks a little bit uneven. I think especially between the G and the N, and it looks like we have more space between the N and the I than between the I and the V, and then a bit more space there.
So I'm going to now clear the rotation, and start doing some kerning. I will insert my cursor at that point. I have my kerning unit set to 1, or indeed I don't; good job I checked. I'm now going to press Option or Alt and my left arrow, tightening up that space, and then pressing my right arrow to move to the next letter pair. I'll do a bit more there, move to the next letter pair. Well, here I might even add a little space, and then reduce the space a bit there, and a bit there.
Now, I can't say enough how subjective this is, so if you do this yourself, you are going to get a different result from me. It does just come with practice, and you may be looking at this and thinking, well, I would have done it differently. And truth is, when I look at my own work the next day, I often think, yeah, well I would do that differently as well. And it's another of those things that it's hard to know when to stop, but I think I prefer the result there. Let's just compare that with how it would look without that manual kerning.
So I am just going to select this text now to restore it to the way it was. I will just come and put it back to Metrics. So the one on the top is my manually kerned example, and the one beneath it is just with the auto-kerning alone. Okay, one other example, and that is when working with script typefaces. Script typefaces can suffer at the hands of kerning; auto-kerning, and manual kerning. Now, here I have the same piece of type with different kerning methods applied.
Now, in this case, the Metrics kerning is working well, because it's been designed specifically for this typeface. This being a script typeface, it's very important that the letters actually connect with each other the way they would if it were handwritten. We can see that when Optical kerning is applied, that doesn't actually happen. If we look at the A and the N right there, that is not what we want to have happen at all. That's a sure sign of amateur letter spacing.
We want to fix that, and the easy fix in this case is just to use the more appropriate -- and I think the keyword there is appropriate; there is no right or wrong with Optical or Metrics, it's just appropriate for whatever font you're using, and that's going to fix that problem. Now, if you're working with a script typeface, and you find that the Metrics doesn't work, do look out for where the letters should join, and if they don't, then you will have to come in and apply some manual kerning to make sure that they do. So there we have three examples of when you might want to kern: to fix a character collision with a drop cap, when working with script typefaces, and when working with headline size type, especially type that presents you with problematic letter pairs.
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