September '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 3 5 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 3 5 exactly," which means they carried across the previous kerning mistakes. Even if the client notices the bad kerning that exists, they will not bring it up. For the clients who deal with this, the overwhelming idea of intentionally changing their logo on a corporate-wide platform is simply too big of an albatross to try and land in the boat. And would that client be considered a hero for bringing it to the company's attention? No … not for a minute. In fact, they would most likely be looked down upon by upper management for walking across a field to kick a turd just to make it skink. So, here is where you remove your "I'm learning kerning" hat and put on your "solution provider" hat, and then grab your bootstraps and prepare to stand your ground if anything is said by the client. You can counter most objections by say- ing something like this: "As a professional sign company, we are challenged often by artwork files that are not balanced or correctly spaced. We are constantly chal- lenged with the decision to either run the artwork as provided, or make it right, so it looks right for the entire life of the sign. Using artwork that has issues is reflected in the finished sign product. ese kern- ing issues simply must be corrected – by each sign company who works on a sign or other project." How are your company logo or identity graphics kerned? Have you ever looked at your own graphics and spotted any kern- ing issues? You may not be able to see it; you may be too close to your own forest to be able to see the trees. GP Matt Charboneau started his career in the sign industry in 1985 as Charboneau Signs, later changing it to Storm Mountain Signs. In 2017, he published the Pre-Sale Sign Survey Field Guide, and provides sign design training at his site: Contact him at Matt@;; and 970-481-4151. I placed the properly kerned word "Kerned" over the top of the font layout just as I had done on the previous example. I also made this example red so that it stands out for comparison. Notice the differences – it changes the word and how it's interpreted. Yep, it was a terrifying slap in the face when I realized I had missed the kerning of an address at the top of a directional sign. It happens. Yes, even after everyone looked at it, and all parties approved it, this kerning issue was still missed, just as most kerning errors are. Welcome to the human factor of signage. This is how you build professional proofing skills that become iron clad. I have been much more detail-focused in my work since this happened, yet I know it will occur again, and I may miss another kerning error. This was a hard ego lesson learned. Youch!

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