Tag Archives: Strange Place

Saturday Snickering: Kerning

by Richard

If it’s Saturday, dudes, that means it’s time to look for a good laugh. As I do so many times, when I’m jonesin’ for a laugh, I head over to read a little xkcd.

A stick-figure one-frame cartoon about romance, math, geeks and other stuff, xkcd is a very strange place, indeed. But it’s my kind of strangeness.

As a former reporter, current editor, and a current writer, I’m more than a bit familiar with some of the intricacies of typesetting; how the choice of font can change the perception of a piece of writing, how the words are laid out on a page can destroy a mood you’ve set up masterly with the writing.

All of which meant I was a sucker for the following cartoon.

Kerning is a relatively simple thing: all it means is adjusting the spacing between letters or characters. Bad kerning can take a good piece of writing and make it trash in my eyes. It can turn an informative sign into a red-hot poker swinging at my eyeballs.

And, for the most part, no one else gets it. Unless they’ve been similarly afflicted. Any time I start ranting about bad kerning or a sign having incorrect grammar or spelling, the folks I’m with will start edging slowly away until they get enough distance to feel safe when they turn around to run. That doesn’t bother me. I’m usually too busy ranting to notice I’ve been deserted.

The worst part of that? I’m not nearly as bad as some people I know.

It’s just once you know what to look for, bad kerning is everywhere. And the more you see it, the more it annoys. Well, I don’t know about you dudes, but it works that way with me.

Oh, geez. I just realized I might have infected you. Nah, I’m sure you dudes are made of sterner stuff and won’ t let that sort of thing start to bother you.

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