“How to Space Your Fonts” free YouTube video

The free live webinar maxed out with 200 registrants — twice! So we made a good recording to share with everyone. Check it out!

Learn how to set sidebearings and widths for ideal spacing of your fonts, for body text or display. Learn the simple principles and tricks that allow you to quickly get reasonably good spacing from the beginning. What is the relationship between space needed for straight-edged and round-edged letters? How wide should the glyph for the space character be? What is the secret formula for the left-shift compensation needed for italics? How does increasing font weight change the ideal spacing? How can you set sidebearings for a bunch of glyphs as quickly as possible in FontLab Studio? How can you measure and ignore serifs? I cover all these things in the video, plus a Q&A Session at the end where people ask questions.

Most important addendum to the video: spacing is something you should address continuously during the design process, not as an afterthought at the end. Kerning, on the other hand, is best left as late as humanly possible.

The demos use FontLab Studio 5, but the general principles apply to all font editors, including Fontographer and TypeTool.

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Thomas Phinney

Thomas Phinney was CEO of FontLab until 2019, when he retired from FontLab to pursue his font detective work and type design. Previously he worked at Extensis (web fonts and font management tools) and Adobe (as product manager for global fonts and typography). Thomas is also a teacher, writer, and consultant on fonts and typography. He has been consulted by Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Oxford University Press, a “big three” US auto maker, the US Treasury Department, and PBS “History Detectives,” among others. He teaches type design with Crafting Type and has been a repeat guest lecturer for MA Typeface Design at the University of Reading. Since 2004 he has been a board member of ATypI, the international typography association. His typeface Hypatia Sans is an Adobe Original with over 3000 glyphs per font.

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