Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Design Lesson Number 1 - KERNING

I have decided to give four design lessons this week for all you indie authors. I know, I know, I am too kind...

Seriously, if you don't know the rules of design, your book covers will look like they were designed by you. We don't want that. We want them to look like they were done professionally even though they were done by you.

Today's lesson is on kerning. What the hell is kerning, Jo? Well, I'll explain... Of course I'm going to use examples, silly monkey!!

The sample text below shows kerned type and type that has yet to be kerned. The top one is set at 0 all the way across.

The bottom example is set at -25 throughout then adjusted a LOT in the places marked with red and a LITTLE in the places unmarked. Some are at -50, some are at -75, and some are at -100. I went with visually pleasing.
Now, you can see that the bottom text is prettier. I used Arial to make it easier to play with for you.

  In the example below, you see panels that are in Photoshop. If you can't see this, go to Window>Character and it will show. Click it!!!! Quick!!!

 When you click it, you get this panel. Pretty freakin' cool, right?
This panel shows you the font (Arial) the style (Regular)
Font size (18) Leading (18) Super or subscript position (0) and KERNING (-50)
All that other stuff, we will address on another day. Right now, look at the KERNING panel ONLY.

In order to kern, you must select the character preceding the letter you want to move closer, then click the kerning drop down and select a number. Sometimes you want to space letters out more, sometimes you want to move them closer. No matter what you desire to accomplish, it can be done with the kerning panel.

I see so many great book covers that would be SO much better with a little bit of kerning. Your art director will spend HOURS adjusting and re-adjusting so your book cover looks just right. Do a little kerning and you'll reach a whole new level with your work.

Tomorrow, I will discuss BLEED and SAFETY and how to use a template.

I hope this was informative.

Don't forget to pick up your copy of The Abigale Chronicles - Book One on Smashwords or iBooks for just $1.99! If you're a tangible book person, you can also pick up a copy on Create Space for just $5.99!

Until next time, WRITE ON!!


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