Difference Between Kerning and Leading

By: | Updated: Jan-15, 2022
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There are many people who may have heard the term “kerning” before, but do not know what it means. Kerning is a type of spacing or leading in typeface design. When we read or write, we have to take into consideration the amount of space between the letters. For example, when we are reading, if there is a space between the two words “the” and “rabbit”, it will be difficult for us to read. In this case, kerning can help us read better by giving a little bit of space between the two words.

Summary Table

Kerning Leading
The spacing between two characters The spacing between two lines of text
Used mostly in print design Mostly used in web design
Used when working with narrow fonts Used when working with wider fonts

Difference Between Kerning and Leading

Kerning is also used in designing fonts to give some extra space or lead between letters. This will make it easier for us to read and look at the fonts on our computer screens or printed materials. However, what many people do not know is that kerning can also be used in web design as well. In this case, kerning refers to adjusting the spacing between each word on a web page. If you have not heard of kerning before and you are wondering what it means for your website design projects, then this article is for you!

There are a lot of other terms that we can use in web design. We can use things like leading, tracking, spacing and letter spacing to describe the amount of space between letters. Leading and kerning are two of the most common terms that we can use in web design, and the two terms have a lot of similarities. They both refer to the spacing between the letters on a web page. However, there are also some differences between the two. In this article, we will look at the similarities and differences between kerning and leading. We will also take a look at the history of these terms, and what other terms are used in web design.

So, let’s get started!

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What is Kerning?

Kerning is the space between two letters. It can be adjusted manually by a designer, or calculated automatically. Kerning refers to the space between characters, and not necessarily individual letters. Letters are not necessarily connected at their midpoints (though they can be). This means that a letter may sit on top of another letter in the same line, and you will still need to add kerning space between them. Kerning can be used to adjust the spacing between words, or groups of letters. It is also possible to use kerning for individual letters as well. For example, if you have a ‘C’ that sits on top of an ‘L’, then you would need to add kerning space between the two letters.

The most common kerning units are:

Character – This is the width of a single character, such as a letter, number or punctuation mark.

Point – This is one type of unit that has been around for many years and is still commonly used today. A point is the width of a single pixel on a computer screen.

Character Size – This is the size of a character, such as a letter or number.

Line Height – This is the height of one line of text, such as an article.

Line Spacing – This is the spacing between lines of text, such as an article. It can also be used to adjust the space between paragraphs and headings within an article.

What is Leading?

The “leading” of a line of type refers to the amount of space between lines of text. “Leading” is used in relation to kerning, but it doesn’t state how far apart a pair of letters should be spaced apart.

The amount of space between a pair of letters, for example, should be enough to separate them but not so much that they appear to be grouped together. A line of type should have at least half an inch of leading on each side. However, it also states that the leading of a line of type should be about 1/4 inch.

This measurement is often measured in units called “points”. There are 72 points to an inch, and the point size is used to measure the distance between two lines of type.

How are They Related?

Kerning and leading are related because they both refer to the spacing between letters. Both of them can be applied in different ways depending on how they are applied by a designer or a developer. For example, if you want to use kerning as described in CSS3, you would add an em unit value of 2em when setting up your font-size property for your text (1em is equal to 1 pixel). This means that you would set your font-size property to 16px, for example.

So, both kerning and leading refer to the spacing between letters. However, they have some differences. Kerning refers to the spacing between individual characters. Leading refers to the spacing between lines of text (or blocks of text).

What are the Differences?

Although there are similarities between kerning and leading, there are also some differences. We will look at these in this section in more detail.

The Term

Kerning refers to the spacing between two characters, while leading refers to the spacing between two lines of text. This means that kerning is only used when working with letters or characters, while leading is used when working with lines of text.

The Context

Kerning is used when working with text, while leading is used when working with lines of text. This means that kerning is mostly used in print design, while leading is used in web design.

The Width

Kerning is only used when working with narrow fonts, while leading is only used when working with wider fonts.

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