Lining v Oldstyle numerals

peterfwyang's picture

When kerning fonts with both Lining and Oldstyle proportional numerals what is the generally accepted form when it comes to kerning? Are all numbers kerned with every other glyph or is it best just to kern 0-9 with all punctuation and parenteses/brackets/braces only? Interested to hear thoughts. Thanks.

charles ellertson's picture

The only time I see numerals kerned with "every other glyph" is when class kerning has been used. Usually poorly.

Remember that "lining" is another name for "uppercase" (& "oldstyle" for "lowercase"). If you don't have small cap figures, the oldstyle will usually be selected when small caps with numbers are set. Make sure your oldstyle figs work with them, and if that destroys the look of the them, add small cap figures.

And I would say remember to check the comma and period with your tabular numerals. I frequently wind up adding a and to switch in -- usually works for with tabular oldstyle numerals, too. And If you're really careful, you might want to have slightly different numerals for tabular figures...


Bendy's picture

I'd assume they should be kerned with alphabetics, punctuation, mathematical signs and the word space (and of course with other numerals). At least I always feel happier when fonts include those kerning pairs, especially if I've paid a lot for them.

Agree with Charles, tabular numerals should be slightly different, and smallcap numerals are often indispensable.

Joshua Langman's picture

I'm not a type designer but I would probably kern everything with everything, if you're releasing a font into the wild for general use. Never doubt that someone's going to want to write 6a = b, Section 12c, l33t, 221b Baker St, a 501(c)(3) organization, c u l8r, a 1p6 gutter, map coordinates 18f,, manuscript leaf 18r, and license plate T42N24T.

However I can't think of any circumstances where you'd mix lining and oldstyle numerals within the same word, so you can probably skip kerning the two sets of numerals to each other.

kentlew's picture

You should certainly *inspect* all the combinations mentioned. If your glyphs are well-fitted, however, you should have to *kern* relatively few of these, mostly punctuation.

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