Typography Project 2: Words

After gaining a new appreciation of letter forms in Project 1, I have learned that letter forms are not created mathematically, but rather they were made to maintain visual consistency with the other letters within the letter form as well as come together as a glyph system to differentiate from other glyph systems. In this project, we used Walter Tracy’s system of type spacing to determine the kerning of each letter in both a san serif and serif font. Initially, when I started this project determining the spacing between the letters “n” and “o” as well as “H” and “O” was very easy for me. What was difficult for me was determining the kerning between the letters in the words we were required to use. The process I used to determine the kerning was to use Walter Tracy’s system of rules as shown below:


What was particularly difficult about this was that not all of the spaces I created were exactly accurate, because some of the parameters Tracy specifies don’t actually specify exact measurements. For examples, the third lowercase parameter is “Bit more than Left n” which is hard to determine how much is a “bit more.” So after trial and error trying to determine the width of the spaces Tracy’s parameters specifies, I set my initial work aside and set out to visually space all the letters. Doing this was much easier and a lot less boring than Tracy’s method. Visually spacing my letters also took a lot less time than using Tracy’s method to measure each space individually. Overall, I think the way my words turned out is as close to correct as I will be able to get on my own. Determining kerning for each letter is much more difficult than it seems and now that I’ve done it, I’ve gained more appreciation for dedicated typographers.