Kerning is the action of adjusting the space between letters, a very good typeface would not need any kerning at all or very little.The worst culprits for bad kerning are W,T,Y,V this is because parts of the letter turn outwards, this means its difficult to decide where to line the next letter up.As a designer you should be able to move the lettering around and by eye work out how close/far away the letters should be.
When a designer is adjusting the kerning they have 2 options.
Metric Kerning and Optical Kerning.. this is them explained by

metric kerning uses the kerning tables that are built into the typeface. When you select metric kerning in your page layout program, you are using the spacing that was intended by the type designer. Metric kerning usually looks good, especially at small sizes. Cheap novelty fonts often have little or no built-in kerning and will need to be optically kerned.

optical kerning is executed automatically by the page layout program. Rather than using the pairs addressed in the font’s kerning table, optical kerning assesses the shapes of all characters and adjusts the spacing wherever needed. Some graphic designers apply optical kerning to headlines and metric kerning to text. You can make this process efficient and consistent by setting kerning as part of your character styles.

Here is an example of type that have been adjusted before and after:Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 17.40.36 Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 17.41.13

The the v and e were far to close to start with and would make a real word more difficult to read and in some cases reading words that may be rude or not in cohesion with the communication intentions of the piece.

The lettering shown in the imagery shows a common mistake in kerning, the Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 18.38.33c and l are to close together and show a rather rude word which is not the most clever idea when it comes to advertising.


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