Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
Type Basics: Kerning


To understand the importance of kerning and develop an eye that can properly space letters.


Kerning is the adjustment of space between pairs of letters to create a visually even texture and improve readability. Good quality fonts should have good kerning by default. However, ss type gets bigger the spacing between letters becomes more obvious and even a well-designed font may need to be optically adjusted to acheive visually pleasing spacing between letters.

Proper attention to kerning gives designs their "finished" look. It is a key element that separates mediocre designs from good ones.

  1. launch Firefox, go to
  2. to get started, click the letter "e" and drag using your mouse or the left/right arrows
  3. kern the sample word and click "compare" to see how you did
  4. continue kerning each of the 10 sample words


  1. to receive a passing grade on this exercise you must reach a score of 85 or above. Keep repeating the exercise until you reach the necessary score.
  2. when you have reached a score of 85 or above, take a screenshot of your result by pressing Command + Shift + 3 at the same time. This will save an image of your screen to your desktop.
  3. double-click the screenshot to open it in the "Preview" application
  4. file > print
  5. submit b&w laser proofs with your name on it for grading
  6. file > rename. Rename the image "kerning exercise"
  7. save the screenshot to netshare or your flash drive
  8. file graded proof in your 3-ring binder for individual review

Last updated: 3/1/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young