Kerning & The Addams Family

This is a great summary/guide to some of the tricks and tips of kerning: A beginner’s guide to kerning like a designer

Some points that I found the most interesting were: (i) certain letter combinations can be tricky to work with such as W or V + A, (ii) specific shaped letters (for example, rounded or straight-edged) will have different perceived spacing that has to be accounted for, and (iii) perceived spacing can change with font size (and font) so it is important to try to do kerning last when working on a project.

example of (ii) mentioned above; screenshot from the article on Canva

Now for some kerning in action! On Halloween, I watched The Addams Family (the 1991 movie version) and during the opening credits, I noticed that the kerning was very tight and obviously custom for each name displayed. Here are some examples:

the “A” in family is under the cross strokes of the “F” in “FAMILY”
the “D” and the “A” in “DAN” are overlapping; with actual equal spacing, this would not happen
all the letters is “STRUYCKEN” seem to be as close as possible; many of the letters are overlapping
interesting to see this side by side comparison of two different A’s; a few comments: (i) the two A’s are different in width which makes me think that each of these names was actually handwritten (from analyzing the other names, I would guess that each letter for each name was hand written and then the kerning was adjusted for each name), (ii) the A in the name “PAUL” is overlapping with the “P” whereas the “A” in “HART” cannot overlap with the “H” or “R” because of the straight edges

It was interesting to think about how kerning was used to create a cohesive style throughout the opening credits of the movie, and now that I am more knowledgable about kerning, I think that I will continue to notice how it is being used in different settings!

link to a video of The Addams Family opening credits


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