Alright so I'm quite new to the font design world but I'm working on a geometric sans (ala Avant Garde, Futura, and the like). I've got most of my glyphs made up and now comes the fun and hard part: spacing and kerning. I'm mostly interested in workflow, since a lot of you are quite experienced I figured I'd try to gleam some information from the veterans. Do you start by setting all your glyphs' side bearings to 0 and work out from there? Do you set all your glyphs to a certain width and bring them in or out? What's the best method?

Thanks so much for any help.

I'm designing a display face in Fontlab, and I'm only creating uppercase letters. I planned on finishing the uppercase letters (metric and kerning included) and then just copy them to the lowercase letter spots so the same A shows up whether you type a or A.

However, it doesn't seem like metric and kerning data gets included when I copy and paste letters. I don't know much about Fontlab, but I would've thought I could somehow copy this data. Any ideas?

Hi there,

I'm working on an auto-kerning tool. It's free and open source. If you're interested in taking a look, I'd love to hear your feedback.

TypeFacet Autokern Project Pages

As a demonstration, I've used Autokern to re-kern two popular open source fonts: League Gothic and Linden Hill (both from the League of Type). Here are direct links to before-and-after comparisons:

League Gothic

Linden Hill

I'm looking for a font similar to Gravur of Lineto, with a better kerning and balance of width. I'm also open to a monospaced version.

Thanks for your help, Regards!

Herbie is a uppercase display font with alternates on every character (lowercase), based only on circles and geometric lines. Herbie is inspired by, as the name might indicate, Herb Lubalin's work and the decorative style and kerning of his era.

Hello All,
Hoping I might get some helpful advice on kerning this type. I'm looking at the two Xs as well as the L and S as potential starting places. As it stands the leg of the L is slightly shortened to reduce the amount of negative space between the L and S. The + sign aligns with the center of the H.

My original intent was to keep the type in a tight rectangular shape. Looking at it now I'm not sure what the best strategy would be – tighten the space (possibly overlap the two X's) or instead increase the amount of space around the other letterforms for balance. Perhaps the leading is an issue as well.

Any insights or tips would be appreciated.

Hi all.
I've kerned all 56 characters through Fontographer 5 via the manual kerning pair window. It took a bit but I'm satisfied with the result.
I'm moving on to glyphs with diacritics and realize I don't want to kern the lowercase /a/ 7 times (for each existing pair). I know classes resolve this time issue. How can I access that from Fontographer 5 or from some set .fea file code ("where a then a" for all diacritically marked /a/).
Does this question make sense? I hope I've worded it well enough.
Thanks in advance (for saving me hours).


I began to work on a font on Fontstruct.

I know this is not a real font editor but it was adapted to my project.
Now I have kerning trouble.

Fontstruct exports only .ttf format, what is the best way / software to adjust the letter spacing ?

I'm kerning a font, and the blue characters (that indicate that a glyph is part of a metrics class) in the Kerning palette of the Metrics Window distract me, so I can't as easily see where the kerning problems are.

Is there a way to turn off the blue characters?

Hello everybody,

why are letter pairs like ›gy‹ and more often ›gf‹ in so many otherwise nice italic fonts so badly kerned? For example:

Williams Caslon Text Italic OT

One of the rare exceptions:

Iowan Old Style BT Pro Italic

I’ve chosen the two examples, just because I like both typefaces very much.

Some explanations for that fact?

Thank you and kind regards


Spaces need kerning too. I realize this fact from reading about it but have trouble eyeballing/judging it. In fact if I hadn't read this to alert me to the task, I probably would have forgotten this important step in font design, because I don't see anything overtly wrong in the spaces of my new font, except for about 3 places. When I do a google search, I can't find any help on this subject. I would really appreciate it if anyone could give me a few suggestions on what letters usually need kerning between the spaces that follow them, and/or whatever tips they could point me towards or supply me with. Any suggestions at all would help!

Thanks in advance!

[Fontlab Studio 5] I'm building a font that is small caps, in other words, all the letters are uniform in width. I meticulously kerned the lowercase first, and I'd like to apply to lowercase kerning to the uppercase, which I did using kerning classes, i.e. _kern1: a' A

However, I would also like that same kerning to apply to the Uppercase-to-Uppercase, i.e. the kerning from fa to be the same as FA.

Using the classes, and putting a' A in the same class seems to only apply the kerning to Fa, and not FA.

Any help is appreciated.

Has anyone experienced FontLab generating a font where the kern classes differ from the source VFB? I'm completely stumped as to why this is happening or how to get around it. I suppose I could use TTX or FontForge to replace the kern classes but I can't help wondering if this is a known bug, maybe FL needs a reinstall or perhaps I've overlooked something. Any insight would be appreciated.

mattia's picture

tight kerning

Hi all,

I'm a bit of a rookie and I hope that my question is not going to be too silly
I tried to look for something similar in your forum but I couldn't dig up anything...

I'm manually kerning a typeface I designed.
Now I'm nearly finished but I realized that the kerning values I gave to the glyphs are a bit too tight
I was wondering if there was a way to automatically increase all the values by a given number (eg 20)
If possible I'd rather not touch the side bearings

Thank you in advance for your time!


I'm having some specific kerning issues. Has anyone ever had inconsistent kerning show up in Photoshop, TextEdit, & Windows WordPad? Almost all the kerning for a certain font shows up, but there are glaring exceptions (for example, Ke, Ka, Ta, fo). These errors are the same for all three of these programs. The same text in Mac or Windows Illustrator is perfect.

With a different font, I have the same above problem except that the Windows Photoshop works perfectly while my Mac Photoshop does not. I have FontExplorer and have emptied all caches from applications & my system and still get the same problems in Photoshop. I realize most type work is done in Illustrator or InDesign, but it should still work in Photoshop.

Any ideas?

b.drabbit's picture

Kerning Check

I've been staring at this way to long now and need fresh eyes. I'm most concerned with the "Sw" spacing, but if you see any other pair out of whack let me know. I have 2 versions, the top one has "Sw" a bit looser and the bottom has the pair tighter. I had almost settled on the top one, but at this point I don't think I can make a objective decision on it.


Hi all,

Any thoughts on the correct kerning of the lining numeral '1'? Specifically, correct kerning when a sans-serif face whose '1' is simply a stem (dangerously close to an uppercase 'I' or lowercase 'l').

The context would be when old style figures aren't available however proportional spacing would be desirable, such as in body copy.


I have a typeface I've been working on tediously for weeks and I've kerned the lowercase and uppercase very carefully.
Then, I went ahead and made the accented characters, etc...

I want to apply my kerning for certain existing (kerned) glyphs into a "class."

For example, I have kerned the "E" and I'd like to make a new class and apply the kerning I've already done for the "E" to all of the other "Egrave, Eacute..."

I'm pretty good about being a fast learner, but this has stumped me.
I really hope there is a way to do this, otherwise, class kerning has to be done after ALL characters/glyphs are complete, which I think would be BS, being a software owner myself.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ken Krugh's picture

Import Kerning from AFM

Using FontLab 5, Windows.
I'm creating an OTF font from a few Type1 fonts. One of the type one fonts is a small cap font. To get the kerning pairs from the old Type1 font into my new font I thought I could pull the Type1 into FontLab and export the AFM file. Then open the AFM in a text editor and change all the lowercase characters to my small cap glyphs.

For instance:
KPX A c -18
KPX A Csmall -18
where Csmall is the name of my small cap c. But it isn't working and I can't see why!

From the AFM file I'm also deleting all the kern pairs I won't need, like:
KPX A T -74
as it's already in there from having procesed the "regular" text.

I am trying to understand the tracking and leading relationship in typographic specimen sheets.

I see popular ratios of:

Is this sort of the standard or is it subject to the font and the cap height, etc?


I have quite 'weird' problem with my font. For some reason one kerning pair (as far as i know) is not working in Adobe CS3 software (indesign, photoshop etc.). Still its perfectly fine in numerous other softwares (MS Word, NeoOffice, Linotype fontexplorer etc.). The problem appears both in "class kerning" and "flat kerning mode".

The problematic kerning-pair is "Va" so it's too visible in display sizes to ignore.

I've attached detailed picture comparing the pair "Va" and "VA" in multiple softwares.

I hope someone knows something similar and can help me on this.


Hey Everybody,
I made a truetype typeface including different kernig pairs. The kerning works fine in all programms of adobe but it doesnt seems to work in programms like motion 4 . The person i made it for however needs it to work in this programm, The strange thing is that i opened the typeface in open office, where also the kerning is not activated but it looks different from the result in motion 4. There for exmple VA looks fine whereas AV doenst seem to be accessed, Is there a way to solve that problem for motion 4 ? or does it have to do with some setting i would need to change in fontlab, respectively did i miss a option to make the kerning work properly in other programms?
Would be great if somebody could give me some input on this!
Thanks and a nice pre-christmas time!

I generated a font with just one kerning pair of -60.
The font appeears in InDesign CS5 ME with no kerning visible but the kern values in the menu appear in brackets (-60).

Fontlab 5.04 build 2741

In the prefernces, Generating Open Type... Kerning:
Expand class kerning while building [kern] table.

InDesign CS5 ME

timmyneutron's picture

how to avoid class kerning errors

Hey i am trying to generate my font but always get kerning errors and the kerning of many paris gets irgnored in indesign later, could somebody tell me really basic hot to solve this! Would be great, as iam really stuck here!
Here are the Errors:

[NOTE] Removing duplicate glyph [/Users/timmhaneke/Library/Application Support/FontLab/Studio 5/Features/fontlab.fea 63]
[WARNING] Start of new pair positioning subtable; some pairs may never be accessed: [a] [h i m n] [/Users/timmhaneke/Library/Application Support/FontLab/Studio 5/Features/fontlab.fea 64]
[NOTE] Removing duplicate glyph [/Users/tim/Library/Application Support/FontLab/Studio 5/Features/fontlab.fea 75]

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