Jammed space after period Garamond ITC

mhlove's picture

I'm not a designer, just the editor, but I'm noting in horror that our new typeface Garamond ITC by BT (not sure what the BT means) displays inconsistent spacing after a terminal punctuation--periods and colons. Most of the time, at our point size (9), it seems that the initial letter of the following sentence is "jammed" right up to the period. At other times, depending on the letter, it's not.

It' less noticeable before a B or a W. But jams right up against an "A" (.A ). A "T" seems to almost overhang the period. It's pretty damn close to the "H," too. As well as a quote mark. (.")

What's causing this? Is there any way to fix it, globally? BTW, I'm not fond of this font (x-height seems so high). But we have a far amount of leading, so tolerable.

Also, I just copied this from the pdf over to a Word page and there's NO space before the offenders mentioned above (pairs that look too tight). What's going on???

Thanks for any advice. I'm not sure I can get the publisher to change fonts in this redesign. I note that a magazine he likes uses the same ITC Garamond font -- but with much more leading than we use (I don't like that version either) but they have healthy spaces before the next sentence.

I'm not an expert at all this...so speak in layman's terms, if you please! MH

riccard0's picture

I just copied this from the pdf over to a Word page and there's NO space before the offenders mentioned above (pairs that look too tight). What's going on?

This looks like a missing space in the original text.

bojev's picture

This sounds like it is not a problem with the font but rather one with someone leaving out the space between sentences. BT stands for Bitstream and they produce quality fonts and all of the Garamonds I have by them do not display the problem you point out.

eliason's picture

Maybe the text at one point had double spaces between sentences and somebody got over-aggressive with find-and-replace.

Nick Shinn's picture

I suspect that may be over-zealous kerning, in the font, between the Space character and some of the capitals, perhaps even between Period and Space.

This sort of thing was an issue with some fonts made 20 years ago e.g. Gill Sans, Minion), but subsequent versions of those are less aggressively kerned.

riccard0's picture

over-zealous kerning […] This sort of thing was an issue with some fonts made 20 years ago

Well, in Chaparral Pro, the ". A" combo is still so tight to be problematic at times.

Theunis de Jong's picture

A recent Minion Pro suffers the same problem; recently I had some complaints on French text, where apostrophes got kerned way too close to characters before and after.

But based on the evidence of copying text out of the PDF, I'm inclined to put this particular issue down to actually missing a space in the text.

mhlove's picture

I went back and checked the text. There are no missing spaces in the Word version. It happens repeatedly between certain combinations--mostly "A" and "T". THe rest are close, but acceptable. Here's an example. Now what?

mhlove's picture

oops...tried to upload a screen shot. That didn't work. Could this be due to anything but the font and is it possible to fix kerning between a period and a space?!

charles ellertson's picture

oops...tried to upload a screen shot. That didn't work. Could this be due to anything but the font and is it possible to fix kerning between a period and a space?!

Sure, depending on the layout program. With InDesign, just change the kern value used each time it happens. Better is to fix the kern values in the font (and make sure the typesetter doesn't use "optical" as opposed to "metrical" kerning), but strictly, that depends on whether or not the End User Licensing Agreement (EULA) permits modification to the font. Less strictly, I can't think of any font publisher who would object to an end user fixing a kerning bug.

With what you describe: the capital letter *A* overhangs it's setwith (negative sidebearings) in many fonts, so it can be hard to say what's going on with an *A*, but your description of the *T* does make it sound like a kerning issue. Probably a kern between the space and the next letter, with the period being an innocent bystander, but the effect of that is as you describe.

There are still a lot of space-kern problems in 2012. Adobe's Janson has such issues -- the sum of the kerning in the string *f_space_quotedblleft* gives a result where the f becomes closer to the open quotes than the quotes to the following letter, even though there really is a space in the text.

If this is professionally set, mark the proofs and tell the typesetter to fix it. If it isn't professionally set -- now you know why there are "real" typesetters.


By the way, I think your instincts about ITC Garamond are spot on. It is a bit of a joke around the type community I inhabit -- though that's admittedly the stogy book world. We think of it as an advertising face, best suited for, say, fast food placemats, where it was actually used . . . McDonald's, maybe?

hrant's picture



charles ellertson's picture

I have no idea what hrnat is talking about. What happens when you condense an apple? Cider?

* * *

Ms. Love -- when you mark the proofs, mark the problem as a Printer's Error (PE). It's possible the situation was the result of bad composition, up to & including using "optical kerning."

In any case, the compositor gets responsibility for all the muck-ups of the layout designer who chose the typeface, and the person who designed it. And, all you type designers out there biting your collective tongues, this is why we also we have to "modify" fonts.

hrant's picture

Sorry: Apple used to use a condensed version of ITC Garamond
for its logo/stuff. To be fair, that was less not-OK back then.


mhlove's picture

Charles--This is showing in the proofing PDFs done by the art director (not sure how you define "professionally set" with a typographer, didn't know such people existed in this day). I suppose he would be called the 'compositor' in this case. i know he doesn't want to have to comb the text each time for these errors. Nor does the editor.

Pardon my ignorance, but for review: in his program ( Quark), he (ie.the "compositor") would fix the problem each time we see it happening or do it "globally" (this would be the metrical fix) by fixing kern values in the font. Is this easy -- or can it muck up things? I believe

The font package suggests Adobe ITC by BT f (so assuming this is an adobe font...sold by bitstream? not sure of the relationship)

At any rate, it would be nice to know where he could get some advice on this -- calling Adobe sounds impossible. Are there experts (like yourself, perhaps) whom people can call about this font or issue? Or is it possible to upload an example of this to someone on this forum (off line...since this is a current issue and don't want it floating around). I'd love for someone to look at it because, truthfully all the spaces are tighter than I've ever seen. I'm wondering if its the point size for this particular font.

Thanks for all this to all. Very helpful ....


JanekZ's picture

It is GaramondITC from Adobe?!!! Yes, it has kerning /space/ - /some UC letters/.
1st solution: set kernig in the font file to 0 or something
2nd: use Quark built-in kern utility

[edit] and /period/ - /space/

mhlove's picture

Jan -- great. Will my designer know what you mean by: "/space/-/some UC letters/...OR [edit]and/period/-space/ \

If there were a way to send you or Charles an example, I would. I don't see a place for emails in the member's profile- or a way to send a private message.

Thanks all.

JanekZ's picture

1. I mean kerning between space and T or kerning between period and space
2. janek.zurawski@poczta.onet.pl

hrant's picture

Mary, to me this sounds solvable on Typophile, but if you do
get stuck do hire a professional typesetter as a consultant.

BTW, know that InDesign is much more typographically aware
than Quark, although it might be too much to ask for somebody
who's used to the latter to switch, especially mid-stream.


charles ellertson's picture

Don't change to InDesign until you also learn to use FontLab -- FontLab is to type what PhotoShop is to images. As of 2012, InDesign does not provide for writing a kerning program in the application.

On the other hand, Quark will let you overwrite the kerning in the font as published. You can also specify using more space with the spaceband character generally, I believe. InDesign provides for this, too.

Because type is now *licensed* rather than *owned,* it can be hard to hire people to work on your fonts. And the skill is usually bundled in with the skills of a compositor or type designer. The cheap way is for your art director to learn a couple new tricks.

charles ellertson's picture

Tell you what -- Call or email the Director of Design and Production at your alma mater's press -- her name is Jennifer Jerome -- and she will give you both my bona fides and email address.

Now, make a small contribution to Columbia's publishing program -- over time is fine -- and I'll fix your fonts.


mhlove's picture

well thanks...passing this on.

Nick Shinn's picture

You’re using Quark XPress?
That means you can edit the kern tables in a document-specific manner (and transport the settings from one document to another).
No need to tinker with the fonts.
This is a long-standing feature of Quark that InDesign doesn’t have.
It’s quite straightforward — identify all the kerns between the problem letters and the space character, and delete them.

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