If you don’t take care over your kerning then your work needs burning…

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the last 20 years, it’s that any graphic designer worth their salt has to have a bit of an obsessive personality. I know I’m a bit obsessive. And I also know a fair few graphic designers who are, ahem, ‘familiar with that trait’…

I admit to having quite a few obsessions. Photography. The Beatles. Notebooks. 80s music. Black fibre tip pens. Typography. Liverpool FC. The Guardian’s Saturday Sports section. I also admit to having a mild case of OCD…

But typography. That’s the big one. Typography. Ever since I was about 12 years old and my Uncle gave me a ‘lettering book’… I spent hours on end tracing the letters from the book. Gill Sans. Helvetica. Times. Garamond. Goudy. But I could never get the words looking right or reading correctly. It used to bug me. I then went off to polytechnic to study Graphic Design. And I use the word ‘study’ very lightly. Believe me. But I did learn a few things about typography…

I discovered the joys of leading, kerning, justification, x height, cap height, picas, points, baselines. How to use a typescale to measure type. But it was always kerning that interested me the most. That you could make a word read correctly just by altering the space between the letters! Wow. The space needed between an ‘m’ and an ‘n’ is different to that between a ‘d’ and an ‘s’. Finding that if you used an ‘f’ and ‘I’ together, a ligature is sometimes required (that’s another blog subject altogether).

Kerning has to be spot on.

Whenever I see a word, a sign, a logotype, a heading in a newspaper… The first thing I look at is the kerning. Is the spacing correct? It’s wrong far too often. I have a collection of photo’s of bad kerning. I’m not going to reveal them here ‘cos I may get myself into trouble. But you’d be surprised at some of the high profile national and international brands that have bad kerning. I’ve seen some bad examples locally too.

You kind of expect it when a logotype or a heading or a word has been typeset by someone who’s not a designer. Without formal design training or some decent mentoring from an experienced designer how can you be expected to learn about kerning? So all you non-designers who are guilty of kerning crimes, you are just about forgiven. Just…

But if you’re a trained designer, or if you call yourself a designer, or if you earn a living as a designer, you really have a duty to your client to get the kerning right. You can’t get away with just typing a word into your computer, choosing a font and ‘that’s it, finished’. There’s far more to it than that. There’s a skill and set of rules you need to apply. And you need a trained eye. But I don’t need to go into that here. Cos if you’re not a designer you’ll be bored within seconds. Believe me. All I can say is it involves a lot of squinting, tipping your head sideways from left to right, right to left, several times. A sheet of tracing paper. And a window.

But if you’re a designer you already know all of that. Right?

As I said at the start of this rant, if you don’t take care of your kerning then your work needs burning. I mean it…

Carl Jones Design offer a free initial consultation where we’ll happily visit your offices for a no obligation chat to discuss your requirements

We are a branding consultancy. We combine clear thinking, brand strategy and design – to create memorable brand identities

Carl Jones Design is an experienced, business-minded branding consultancy established over 15 years ago in 2003. We specialise in strategy-led brand consultancy and design – including brand strategy, brand positioning, brand design, brand implementation, brochure design, packaging design, websites and digital marketing.

From our contemporary design studio near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, we bring together over 50 years of combined consulting and creative experience to create compelling brands for a diverse range of sectors, working with local, national and international clients.

We believe great design is about so much more than just aesthetics; it’s about setting objectives, understanding your audience, reflecting clear values, shaping perceptions – and building recognition & awareness.

At Carl Jones Design, we work in close partnership with our clients to understand their values, their challenges and their objectives, fusing our creative expertise with a strong focus on strategy and sharp commercial awareness to build inspiring brand personas. 

Our clients are at the heart of everything we do – our goal is to bring brands to life and empower businesses and organisations to successfully compete in their marketplace. It's about defining who you are, what you do & who you do it for.

A world class website for a global business

Branding Case Study – OMNETRIC, a Siemens Company

Growth through connecting family values

Branding Case Study – CBSL Accountants

Who are you? What do you do? Who do you do it for?

To be successful you need to be positioned correctly in the context of your marketplace. What are your brand qualities, your mission statement & your aims and goals?

What is brand design?

Brand design is a tool for improving business effectiveness. It can help organisations to stand out from their competition, thereby winning more customers and improving profit. 

It’s that simple.

Going the extra mile aided new business wins that helped grow the workforce by 50%

Branding Case Study – MI Vehicle Integration

Brand storytelling

All brands need an authentic story, something that connects with people. We can help to tell that story. And we use and build on it to create successful strategy and design.

Find out more about Carl & Clare, our founders & directors

From North Wales to Lancashire Polytechnic, then London and back to Shropshire

Want to have a meeting or a chat?

Get in touch to arrange an initial complimentary consultation with no obligation — at a location and time to suit you.

Creating the extraordinary

Each brand identity or logo that we design is crafted and created with attention to detail. The same applies to brochures, packaging and websites.

Do you want to know more about Carl Jones Design?

Founded over 15 years ago and based in the beautiful Shropshire countryside, we have clients throughout the UK and in Europe


Here is flavour of some of our work

Carl’s blog?

From Obsessive Compulsive Designer, a client’s wife hating the colour pink, creating the Tesco logo to where he finds his inspiration – some occassional musings from our Founder and Creative Director, Carl. 

Benefit from our experience

We believe that our combined wealth of experience of working in London agencies, on leading brands across a whole range of sectors, is highly applicable and valuable to all types of client.

We are a small team of experienced graphic designers, specialising in brand and logo design, graphic design and brand consulting. We are based near Shrewsbury in the beautiful Shropshire countryside, and serve clients around the UK. We create solutions that are business oriented, with an approach based on research and strategy.

Our company was started in 2003, when we (Carl & Clare) were based in London. Since then we have developed and adapted our business considerably including a move to Shropshire in 2004. During this time we have established Carl Jones Design as one of the Midlands’ most unique graphic design and branding consultancies, with a reputation for clear, well thought-out, branding and graphic design solutions for all types of businesses and organisations around the UK.

Carl Jones Design was born out of our desire to create simple, effective solutions that work.

We bring together Carl’s experience as Design Director at some of London’s top design agencies, and Clare’s experience as a fashion and accessory designer for some of the high street’s biggest names.

Our mix of skills enables us to approach our clients’ requirements from a variety of different angles, and to provide an approach which is individual to their needs. We don’t offer an off the shelf solution, we offer a unique, bespoke approach in everything we do.

So what’s our secret? The first thing we do with any new client is to get to know them. Their business, their customers, their marketplace, their challenges, their requirements and their people. In effect, we become a part of their team! Only when we’ve done this are we able to put together a brief. Once the brief has been agreed, we are then able to start the exciting part – the creative process, coming up with ideas and design concepts. We take a considered, measured approach to our work – our creativity isn’t based on what’s in fashion or the latest trend – it’s about communication, setting our clients apart. 

We are always happy to meet and discuss your requirements and to put together a written proposal, with no obligation.


Why would you need our brand design services?

Your new business needs a name, a brand, marketing material and a website design

Your business requires a brochure, some branded stationery, vehicle graphics or signage

You’re running a social media campaign and need some striking images

Your catalogue looks dated and you don’t sell enough products

You’re frustrated with your current design agency, they don’t listen to your requirements

You’re launching a new product and it needs a name, a brand image and packaging design

Your business branding doesn’t allow you stand out from the crowd

You have an exhibition coming up and you need a display stand, a brochure design, and some advertising

Your company logo design is dated and tired – you need a full rebrand


Do you think that we could help with your brand?

Send us an email at carl@carljonesdesign.com
or call us on 01694 72 49 49 to have a chat or set up your complementary initial consultation...