Kerning Test

by Christoph Koeberlin

In addition to the letter shapes, it is also to a large extent the spacing between them that makes for an even typeface - and thus a good typeface. Each character has its width, but if you simply line them up, it doesn't always work without annoying gaps or collisions.

Kerning” or “undercutting” refers to equalizing the spacing of problematic letter pairs.

This is where “kerning” comes in; problematic letter pairs are treated separately, and, for example, the lowercase »o« in “token” is moved a bit below the »T«.

Good typefaces are characterized not only by beautiful forms but also by their consistent rhythm, and to take a closer look at this, Robert Bringhurst has published a text in his essential book The Elements of Typographic Style that examines typefaces in this respect.

This text is much better off on a website than in a book, since you can simply select and copy it here to use it elsewhere for testing. As in the book, the markings show the critical places (at least for classic fonts); we have added a paragraph for the German quotation marks, which are often neglected.

I “Ask Jeff” or ‘Ask Jeff’. Take the chef d’œuvre! Two of [of] (of) ‘of’ “of” of? of! of*. Two of [of] (of) ‘of’ “of” of? of! of*. Ydes, Yffignac and Ygrande are in France: so are Ypres, Les Woëvres, the ret de vres, the Voire and Vauvise. Yves is in heaven; D’Amboise is in jail. Lyford’s in Texas & L’Anse-aux-Griffons in Québec; the Łyna in Poland. Yriarte, Yciar and Ysaÿe are at Yale. Kyoto and Ryotsu are both in Japan, Kwikpak on the Yukon delta, Kvæven in Norway, Kyulu in Kenya, not in Rwanda.… Walton’s in West Virginia, but «Wren» is in Oregon. Tlálpan is near Xochimilco in México. The Zygos & Xylophagou are in Cyprus, Zwettl in Austria, nø in Denmark, the ringsfossen and røy in Norway. Tchula is in Mississippi, the Tittabawassee in Michigan. Twodot is here in Montana, Ywamun in Burma. Yggdrasil and Ymir, Yngvi and den, drið and Skeggjöld and r are all in the Eddas. rberget and g, of course, are in Norway, Ktipas and Tmolos in Greece, but zquez is in Argentina, Vreden in Germany, Von-Vincke-Straße in Münster, Vdovino in Russia, Ytterbium in the periodic table. Are Toussaint L’Ouverture, Wölfflin, Wolfe, Miłosz and all in the library? 1510–1620, 11:00 pm, and the 1980s are over.

Added by Typefacts:

Ist da „Jemand“? „Volker?“„Wolf“. „Anna?“ – „Yvonne“. „Torsten fragte: ‚Vladimir?‘, später rief er ‚Wolf‘ und ‚Theresa‘, dann ‚Andreas‘ und ‚Yvonne‘“. Eleganter: Ist da »Jemand«? »Volker»Wol. »Anna?« – »Yvonne«. »Torsten fragte: ›Vladimir?‹, später rief er ›Wolf‹ und ›Theresa‹, dann ›Andreas‹ und ›Yvonne‹«.

Text extracted from The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst.


In Microsoft Word 2021, kerning must first be activated manually via Format → Font... → Advanced → Character spacing! There activate the checkmark at "kerning from:" and enter a low size, e.g. 6 point:

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