It is easy to see a couple of spacing issues in this example. There is too much space between the W and the A and a huge space between the L and the T.
This screen grab shows the Character Tab in Photoshop. The Tracking box is on the lower right. The leading box works similarly to adjust line spacing.
The top line is the text as it was originally entered. In the second line, I adjusted the kerning and then filled the space with yellow to illustrate how the “volume” between each of the letter pairs is about the same. The last line is the resulting t e x t .
The secondary text in both examples are the same size. The tracking was adjusted to increase the spacing globally.
Use the kerning tools to create creative and dynamic headlines. Specialty fonts, similar to the script version, will almost always need careful kerning.
Tracking adjusts the spacing “globally” as seen in the examples above.

Get the letter spacing right

A few extra minutes can help you look like a pro!

By Mike Jackson

Posted on Saturday, August 29th, 2020

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Computer fonts are typically designed with a generous number of “kerning pairs”. Kerning refers to the spacing between any two letters in a word. Tracking is another important term that refers to global spacing within a word, phrase or sentence. Lastly, leading refers to the spacing between lines of text.

Fonts provided with any of the popular design programs can vary considerably in quality. This is especially true of fonts that can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Professional fonts purchased from most of the name brand vendors are normally much better at kerning or auto spacing. At times, though, even the best fonts often need a little tweaking.

Display fonts and text fonts Text fonts are typically used for type in the body copy of books and magazines. They’ve been around a long time and do a great job, especially when viewed as paragraphs on a page. Display fonts, or headline fonts, often need critical attention for kerning since they are usually rendered much larger. In other words, they are often used as the “main copy” on a sign, versus what we call sub-copy or smaller text.

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Mike and Darla Jackson operate Golden Studios in Loveland, Colorado, and do a variety of sign-related projects. Mike’s website is His email address is You can see more of Mike’s photos at and

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