This is just between us neurotic kerners of type. Anyone else who doesn’t care about the Grand Canyon-size space “automatically” put between an uppercase A and an uppercase Y, please leave the room. There’s nothing for you to see here.
Okay. Let’s talk. You know who you are. You are the ones who will be standing in line in the supermarket analyzing the kerning of headlines on magazine covers while others around you are wondering if it’s true what they’re saying about Katie Holmes. You are the ones who are watching television and always asking, “Did they want it to look like that or is that just bad kerning?” while your friends are enjoying the movie. You are the ones who print reps schedule their day around when delivering proofs because you will take an hour analyzing a headline to make sure their prepress system picked up every single point of kerning you painfully placed between each letter because the type foundry isn’t good enough for you.
Am I talking with the right person? Good. Because I’d hate to waste this rant on the neurology of kerning on just another designer. I guess our predilection for letter-spacing perfection stems from a deep-seated desire for order. Or maybe it’s worse. Consider how you feel when you see bad (or heaven forbid NO) kerning. It’s disorienting. It’s wrong. It’s getting in the way of reading the message. That sounds like a disorder to me. Which makes me think we need help. Although if we plead denial, we can implore the Adobes of the world to program better kerning into their fonts and software. Or we can continue to labor at the one thing that makes us feel good—making typography perfect. Because there is really no better feeling for a designer. Especially a neurotic designer.