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Definition of Kerning in Graphic Design

Kerning refers to the adjustment of space between individual characters in a word or line of text to achieve a visually pleasing and balanced appearance. It involves fine-tuning the spacing between specific pairs of letters to improve readability and overall typographic harmony.


Kerning is a fundamental typographic technique used in graphic design to ensure optimal spacing between letters, preventing awkward or distracting gaps or overlaps. By adjusting kerning, designers can enhance the legibility and aesthetic quality of text, particularly in headlines, logos, and display typography.

Related Terms

  • Tracking: The uniform adjustment of spacing between all characters in a block of text or a selection of text, used to achieve consistent visual spacing and improve overall readability.
  • Leading: The vertical spacing between lines of text, measured from baseline to baseline, which affects the overall appearance and readability of text blocks.
  • Typeface: A set of characters with a consistent design style, including letters, numbers, and symbols, often grouped into font families with variations in weight, style, and size.
  • Serif: A small decorative stroke or flourish attached to the ends of letter strokes in certain typefaces, which can affect kerning and overall typographic appearance.
  • Optical Kerning: Automatic kerning adjustments performed by design software based on visual perception rather than mathematical spacing metrics, resulting in more balanced and harmonious letter spacing.

Related questions about kerning

  • What is the purpose of kerning in graphic design?
    Kerning is used to adjust the spacing between individual characters to achieve a visually balanced and harmonious appearance, improving readability and overall typographic quality.
  • How is kerning different from tracking?
    Kerning involves adjusting the spacing between specific pairs of letters, while tracking refers to adjusting the spacing between all characters in a block of text or a selection of text.
  • What are some common techniques for adjusting kerning in graphic design software?
    Designers can adjust kerning manually by selecting specific letter pairs and adjusting the spacing using kerning controls or by using automatic kerning features available in design software.
  • What factors influence the need for kerning adjustments in typography?
    Factors such as letter shapes, typeface design, font size, and overall layout can influence the need for kerning adjustments to achieve optimal spacing and typographic balance.
  • Are there any guidelines or best practices for kerning in graphic design?
    Yes, designers often follow typographic principles and visual perception guidelines to determine kerning adjustments, aiming for consistent spacing, avoiding collisions between letters, and ensuring readability and aesthetic quality.


Creatopy Team
Creatopy is the AI-driven creative automation platform that enables brands and agencies alike to build, optimize and personalize creatives at scale for various markets, channels and digital platforms.

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