This tutorial will show you how to fix uneven character spacing in the wording on the Starbucks coffee travel cup, and is designed to come between STEP FIVE and STEP SIX in that project.
When you curve some names, the spacing ends up even, like this:The spacing between the letters is consistent. If you’d like to adjust character spacing in the whole word, you can do that with the Character Spacing tool (B).
For some names, however, you may get uneven letter spacing, such as this:. . . a big space between the O and N and between the A and apostrophe, little space between the N and A, and a medium amount of space between the F, I, and O. With inconsistent spacing like this (varying amounts of space between the letters), the Character Spacing tool (B) is no help. Adjusting it to help one space will just throw others out of whack. Here are a few things you can do to fix inconsistent spacing between letters, or as the font people call it: kerning. Yes, you’re about to become a kerner.
A-kerning we will go…
Start by playing with the Character Spacing tool (B, above) to get as many of the spaces right as you can. Then go on to the big gaps. In my FIONA’S example, I have two big gaps: between the O and N and between the A and apostrophe.
STEP A: Remove the name from the circle. To do that, make sure the green text box is selected (double-click the text to get to the green box), then click on the circle with the plus sign (on the green box) and drag the text box away from the circle). Duplicate the text box as many times as you have gaps you want to reduce—two for me—and drag the copies to their own areas on the mat. (To duplicate, select the text box, right-click, choose ‘Duplicate’). I have three FIONA’S on my mat now.
STEP B: Working from left to right, start with the first gap you want to reduce—for me, that’s the space between the O and N. Select the first text box and delete the letters to the right of the gap—for me, that leaves FIO. Select the second text box and delete the letters to the left of the gap—for me, that leaves NA’S. STEP C: If you have another gap to reduce, select the text box with the last part of the name and delete the letters to the right of the next gap—for me, the next gap was between N and apostrophe, so I deleted ‘S to leave NA.
STEP D: Select the next full-name text box and delete the letters to the left of the gap—for me, that leaves ‘S in the third text box. I had only two gaps, so I”m done, but if you have more gaps to reduce, repeat STEP C and STEP D until all your gaps are fixed. My three text boxes now look like this:
If you have more gaps, you’ll have more text boxes.
STEP E: One at a time, double-click on the text boxes to reveal the green box, click on the circle+ sign and drag the text box to snap at the top of the red circle (which you’ll remember turns grey right away). STEP F: Now you can control each part of the name individually, so drag the circle+ on the text boxes, moving them around the circle until you’re happy with the spacing between the them. Don’t worry about whether the name is centered at the top of the circle—we’ll take care of that in a bit—for now, just concentrate on getting the letter spacing nice and even.Oooh, I like that. The spacing is much better.
The spacing between FIO looks pretty good now, but if I wanted to tighten it a bit, I’d just have to select that text box, and reduce the character spacing by using the Character Spacing tool (B, above). Almost there.
STEP G: Center the name at the top of the circle by selecting the circle and rotating the green knob until the name is centered. All of the text boxes are attached to the circle, so when you move the circle, the whole shebang will move as one unit.STEP H: Select all of the text boxes (to select them all simultaneously, hold the shift key down as you select them), right-click, then ‘Convert to Path’. The name is now disconnected from the circle, but still broken up into three text boxes, so before you move anything, group them together (select all three text boxes again, right-click, choose ‘Group’). Now the name is ready to use. Return to the original coffee cup tutorial and continue there at STEP SIX.