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I've been learning how to use FontForge and am now getting my feet wet with kerning. I see that there are two options to do kerning: classes and pairs.

To me, classes seem to have no downside. When I'm setting a 'T' to a 'c', 'e', and 'o', I can do them all at once! If I have something that's a bit of an oddity, like an 'a' or an 's', I can just set it by itself (knowing too that once I get into diacritics those characters won't be alone anymore).

So, why would I use pairs at all? Is it just a legacy thing since pairs came before classes? Does setting up a class introduce a lot of overhead into the font file that can bloat it or slow it down?

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this is a guess, but it may have something to do with setting up contextual ligatures ? –  MephistonX Apr 30 '13 at 8:08
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up vote 4 down vote accepted

pairs are generally more accurate than classes but take longer to create (obviously). classes are the most popular and the difference is negligible, but if you want perfection and a real "optical" look as oppose to a "mathematical" look, use pairs.

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is it right that kerning classes inherit its kerning from the upper class, which means i can give more than one class to a character or pair? –  codelio Apr 30 '13 at 22:05
    
not sure. i think you can determine where the inheritance comes from but why would you want to give more than one class to a pair? –  stephencosh Apr 30 '13 at 22:10
    
because i thought so inheritance is possible: lets say for all g,p,q,y,∫.. following an "schuster" T or F but on top a class which has different Kerning with W's for the same g,q,.. –  codelio Apr 30 '13 at 22:26
    
How do you the determine which class has priority? Can you actually do this in FF? –  stephencosh Apr 30 '13 at 22:31
    
very good question, will test this. –  codelio Apr 30 '13 at 22:38
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