What is kerning in graphic design

Have you ever heard of such a concept as text kerning? Maybe you’ve read about it and have an idea what it’s about. But do you know how much this method affects the effectiveness of the marketing campaign? It is worth noting that the importance of this tool is often seriously underestimated.

What is kerning?

Let’s look more closely at what kerning is for and what it is all about. In simple words, it is the space between letters. Here is an illustrative example. The image below shows how the appearance of the word changes depending on the kerning settings:

Properly choosing the amount of space between characters makes the text easier to read.

Most fonts use kerning by default.

At first glance it seems simple. However, do not forget that when adjusting a number of factors must be taken into account: the font type, the structure of text blocks, the value of line spacing, etc.

Google even dedicated a kind of “Easter egg” to this tool. If you type “kerning” in the search box you’ll get a text with non-standard character spacing.

What is the meaning of this tool?

Some might argue, but letter spacing is an important characteristic of text. Even now, as you read this article, you are experiencing the effects of kerning.

If the text is well-written and easy to read, the vast majority of readers will not wonder how you achieved it. But make a mistake, and the situation changes drastically. Here are some clear examples of what unsuccessful kerning can lead to:

Of course, if you want to, you can find quite a few examples of truly competent pitching. The problem is that most people only pay attention to the kerning that cuts the eye.

If you have a pair of good shoes on your feet, you won’t think about them all the time. But you will immediately be reminded of how comfortable they were by wearing poor quality shoes. Similarly, examples of poorly designed text make you more aware of how important proper kerning really is.

Readability of text

It doesn’t matter whether it’s content marketing, landing page optimization or email marketing. Either way, your main goal is to get a certain message across to the consumer. Proper character spacing makes the text more readable, which in turn makes it easier to digest.

“If you don’t pay enough attention to kerning, the result can be disastrous. It should be understood that the user is unlikely to bother with the “decoding” of an uncomfortable text. Rather, it will simply go to a competitor’s resource.

In fact, you’re dealing with this tool every time you see two or more characters standing next to each other.

Motivation to take a targeted action

The information you offer people should push them in the direction of one action or another (filling out a lead form, clicking on a CTA element, etc.). Text blocks on a landing page act as road signs, and competent kerning allows you to make it so that the user can easily read the information from these pointers.

Optimizing conversions

Today it’s no secret that a slight change in content on a website can seriously affect the conversion rate. Sometimes it is enough to slightly reformulate the call to action that the effectiveness of your Landing Page has increased by an order of magnitude.

However, there are many other factors that influence conversion rates, some of which are sometimes blatantly underestimated. One of these factors, without a doubt, is the kerning.

How do you learn proper kerning?

It would seem that what could be easier than placing spaces between characters. However, numerous examples of failed kerning prove that a lack of attention to text layout can play a cruel trick on a marketer.

Want to practice? If so, you should pay attention to Kerntype, a game invented by Mark MacKey.

In this game you should correct the position of letters to make your own words look more correct. Such exercises allow you to feel the difference between the text “before” and “after” work on it.

Be careful, however! Once you’ve experienced all the delights of good kerning, you just can’t help but notice the bad:

“Once you learn about kerning, your life will change. Suddenly you will start noticing unequal spacing between characters everywhere, and it will probably annoy you. It is possible that some people will even accuse you of snobbery. Don’t mind them: the fact that you know something they don’t know doesn’t make you a bad guy.


When should you pay special attention to kerning?

Many marketers prefer to leave standard character gaps between characters. In principle, such an approach is quite acceptable. However, in some cases, font kerning is a very promising idea. Such cases include:

Logo design.

Are you working on a logo for your company? Be sure to talk to a designer about kerning. The right logo will help convey ideas more accurately to potential customers.

Choosing a headline for your Landing Page

The headline is the most important element of a landing page. By designing it correctly, you’ll be able to grab the user’s attention and get a chance to drive them to the end of the sales funnel.

Active use of graphics

If your website has an original design with an abundance of graphic elements, take care that the appearance of text does not spoil the overall picture.

Today we’ve looked at what kerning is in Word, other text editors, logos and, of course, landing pages. By the way, most visitors to landing pages do not pay any attention to the size of the spaces between characters in the text. But this does not mean that this factor does not play a role.

Experiment with kerning: change the appearance of the header on the landing page, or, for example, try to work with the buttons Call To Action. After all, when it comes to fighting for customers’ attention, every detail counts.