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I'm using a serif font 16px for a name in a business card. The 1st letter is 'L' and the last is 'O', its quite long as is standard South American convention double 1st name and double surname this equates to a 10mm space on either side. I am using illustrator.

The problem is when I auto-align the name it looks too far to the right as it appears the serifs on the 'L' are included in the alignment. When I center the name using the upright of the 'L' it does look better, but still not quite right: For my eyes it needs a nudge to the right.

What is the correct method to solution this problem? My current options are as follows:-

  1. Use the auto-align
  2. 'Manually' align on the upright of the 'L'
  3. 'Manually' align to eye
  4. Change font / size / colour

I could not find anything on a internet search, whilst writing this question it suggested to me that this is a kerning problem and addressed the same way? ie manually adjust until looks correct to eye?

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'Manually' align to eye

That's your answer.

The task of aligning type is pretty much relegated to the 'trained eye'. The reason is that optically aligning type doesn't usually have any relation to mechanically aligning it. In other words, the computer simply can't figure out what looks right visually--only mathematically.

Some tips:

  • large round letters such as 'O' may hang out further than the lines above/below
  • letters with large negaive spaces (such as an 'L' on the right margin) may need to hang out further than the lines above/below to look aligned.
  • Many people prefer to 'hang the punctuation' outside of the aligned edges. Get your type aligned the way you like, THEN add the punctuation to the outside of that.

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