Category Archives: Irritations

Kerning on The Mentalist [redux]

From 20 episodes, picked at random:

It’s that W and A that drive me nuts. Every episode I sit waiting for the delightfully brief title sting, then 30 seconds later I want to throw something at the screen. And, as you can see, they sometimes get it right.

The Mentalist itself is pretty good telly – well, it was; it’s gone off the boil a bit lately – early on there were lots of cleverly thought out gags and clues for the protagonist to riff on.

Kerning cheat sheet:

Illustrator
After Effects
Photoshop
InDesign
Put cursor between letters and use Alt + left or right cursor keys
Fireworks Put cursor between letters and use properties panel (ewww)
Apple Motion < 5.0.5 Put cursor between letters and use Ctrl + left or right cursor keys
Apple Motion > 5.0.5 Put cursor between letters and use Ctrl + Option + left or right bracket keys
Apple FCP X Put cursor between letters and use Ctrl + left or right cursor keys (See this page for additional notes)

Also see 8 simple kerning tips for some useful tricks. I like the upside-down one best Рthough squinting can often blur the words enough for you to judge the spacing properly.

Bad kerning: The Mentalist *UPDATED*

As part of my remit to kvetch about bad typography I had to mention the nasty type-it-and-fergeddit attitude by whoever does the titles for The Mentalist. Had to.

But look – we’re now 4 seasons in and someone heard me!

They’ve nudged the W and the A together to stop people driving trucks through. Look, here’s what it used to look like (for 3 whole seasons):

There are a few other kerning-based atrocities throughout the sequence (and Mr Yeoman’s credit is still a little inconsistent), but they fixed the worst one, yay!

Next question – isn’t it about time I was recognised financially for this service?