Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A Man and His Codpiece, Color Holds and Kerning Concerns

Benjamin Hobbs:

First order of business: if you haven't heard, it's time to place your orders for NICK CALM, AGENT OF C.O.D.P.I.E.C.E. #1!  The Diamond order code is listed below!  Exciting! 

Second order of business: the cover of CANADIAN VARK.  The cover Lee Thacker submitted looks like this:
The final version will have a different Cerebus on it.  It will look something like this:
The only problem?  The cover is a parody of AMERICAN FLAGG #1, and the coloring is difficult to match due to inconsistencies found in images of the cover on the internet. I can't tell if the dark areas on the jacket and boots were all black on the original printing or if there was a color hold, rendering the areas in question dark blue and dark red, respectively. If anyone out there has a 1st print of AMERICAN FLAGG #1  and wants to take a look at it,  and then leave a comment indicating what the correct color is, that would be very helpful. Thanks!

Last week in the comments section, Kit wrote:

"Dave's use of computer lettering is brutal enough, but uuggggh at the kerning on Benjamin's balloon."

Thanks for writing in Kit!  All of us working on CIH? are striving to make the best possible comic, so feedback is always appreciated. Would you mind going into more detail on how the kerning could be improved on the LEAGUE cover? There's still plenty of time to adjust the cover, if it needs adjusting, but there's only so much information I can extrapolate from the word "uuggggh". Thanks in advance!

Next Week: An Aardvark trapped in the Infernal Realms has to impress six out seven judges with his tap dance routine in order to be the winner of The Infernal Realms Got Talent!


Sean R said...

I have a sneaking suspicion that by "kerning" Kit means "leading."

Kerning is the space between the letters. Leading (pronounced like the metal, which it was!) is the space between lines.

The LEAGUE cover has wider spacing between the third and fourth lines than the spacing between any of the rest of the lines, due to the "emphasis through size" of the last word of the fourth line, and the resulting increase in leading. So this could probably use some manual adjustment to shrink the leading for the emphasized word, to get rid of the extra white space between those lines.

Leading, folks. Leading. "Kerning" is something you almost never have to worry about unless you actually, say, make fonts yourself, or are a very particular typesetter, possibly working with some substandard fonts. Or making a large logo or banner, I suppose, with specialized letter forms that often call for manual adjustment at larger sizes.

Sean R said...

An excellent Kerning primer (with this gem)--

"As we’ve mentioned a couple times already, kerning creates the most bang for your buck on big, visible typography like headlines, titles, banners or hero images with text, logos, and the like. Large blocks of copy don’t need kerning (especially manual kerning) because:

1) Any kerning problems won’t be visible at typical body copy sizes like 10, 11, or 12 points.

2) Many fonts, especially high­-quality ones, come with hundreds or even thousands of “kern pairs” built in. Most of the time, these custom-­kerned pairs will take into account a typeface’s unique letter shapes and construction, and eliminate the need for manual kerning, especially when typesetting paragraphs of text.

Besides, going through a page full of text and kerning letters pair by pair would take hours, and you don’t have time for that. Do take the time to kern, just be strategic about which pieces of typography will benefit the most from the extra attention."

And this is fun (and pretty funny).

Lee Thacker said...

Just looked at my copy of American Flagg #1 and it's a colour hold all over. The Cerebus version you have looks pretty perfect to me.

Jeff said...

Leading and kerning and bears! Oh my!!!

David Birdsong said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Slade said...

The boots on Flagg #1 have red highlights and the leather jacket has blue ones - kind of like the blue/black effect used on Superman's hair in the old days. If you'd like me to scan the cover in and send it over to you, just let me know where to send it.

Benjamin H said...

Lee-Thanks for the feedback! Very helpful!

Paul- If you could send a scan to it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks for your help!

Paul Slade said...

You should have the scan now.

Benjamin H said...

Thanks Paul!

I just got the scan! Greatly appreciated!

Kit said...

Sean's mostly right, in that I was (mis)using kerning as a general shorthand for various ugliness in that balloon layout. The brutal and rigid look of the "Kubert" font aside: the leading is actually annoyingly close on the lines where it isn't thrown out of whack; stacking two identical "WHO"s on top of each other distracts the eye and draws attention to the artificial nature of the lettering; ending a line with the only emphasised word reduces the impact of that emphasis; and replacing the question mark with an exclamation mark (a really badly designed one, that on screen looks like almost like a colon) serves to confuse, rather than intensify, given that the type is already in both bold and italics.

(The kerning qua kerning looks bad on whatever font has been used for the first three words of the title, especially around the U, but maybe that's a trick of there being empty space behind it, and drop shadows clashing with art on the other letters. It also looks like a mix of off-the-shelf fonts between the first three and fourth words - or perhaps that the first three are typed and the fourth nicked from an LOEG scan? - a visual disconnect exacerbated by the leading once again being thrown off by the final word being a different size. Filled-in drop shadows behind filled-in letters also makes this look clumsier than it could.)

I almost never even look at Cerebus In Hell stuff because the lettering and layout are so inelegant though, so don't regard this as customer feedback.