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Quality Curves Spacing & Kerning


In the production of a typeface, quality can be seen as just another factor that needs to be weighed against others. Or it can be seen as an overarching principle. The MicroFoundry is of the latter mentality, for the simple reason that this gives us great satisfaction, and also a measure of pride. In spending over 800 hours creating a single font, the simple enjoyment of good craftsmanship is our primary motivation. The quality of a typeface can be found in the fidelity of its curves, the intelligence of its spacing & kerning, the crafting of its bitmaps, as well as less tangible things.

There are 3 measures of curve quality. Foremost is the æsthetic appeal of the surfaces formed, and their relation to one another. Second are features that compensate for physical idiosyncrasies, such as ink bleed. And last is the actual definition of the curves, since the imperfect computer algorithms that render them need some hand-holding; for example, the explicit definition of inflection points tends to reduce unwelcome surprises.

Maral (Armenian)

When reading we generally absorb complete words, not individual letters. As a result, spacing plays as important a role as the letterforms themselves in a types actual functionality. By ensuring “even color”, words coalesce to become units that are easily read. One way The MicroFoundry optimizes the spacing of its fonts is to consider linguistic data, such as word frequencies. The following is a list of the 100 most frequent words in the English language:

the of and to a in that is was he for it with as his on be at by I this had not are but from or have an they which one you were her all she there would their we him been has when who will more no if out so said what up its about into than them can only other new some could time these two may then do first any my now such like our over man me even most made after also did many before must through back years where much your way well down