Everybody talks about it, but unless you’ve actually gone through the process of kerning a typeface then you have no real idea of what is involved. It’s dead boring, but essential! Kerning, put simply, is the art of adding or subtracting space between pairs of letters. This is the very last thing that I do in the design process—everything should be checked and finished before this happens. Kerning is done for the sake of perfect texture… The InDesign document is basically one big text file, with almost every letter combination that is necessary to check. I print this out and go over it with a fine tooth pen. There are about 60 pages per style to check, containing about 53,000 characters. The corrections are fed back into Metrics Machine, a new font file generated and the fun begins all over again. I typically do about three rounds of kerning proofs.
Typeface design is a field I didn’t realize I had questions about until I came across some answers. The birth of one font is chronicled in Newzald: From Moleskine to Market at the unexpectedly fascinating site i love typography.