And now for something completely different: a kerning game. Drag-drop the letters for perfect kerning, and a perfect score. Multi-touch capable.
I was way off on a couple 70% overall.
I suspect this “game” is a means of gathering some real data about people’s kerning preferences. People don’t want to do boring work for free, so it’s disguised as a game, right?
As far as I know, it’s a teaser for the company’s upcoming series of design lessons for technical people. (Personally, if I were teaching kerning to technical people, I’d start by telling them some of the known rules of thumb, but that’s just me.)
Far as I know it’s just to teach a layman what “kerning” is. I thought kerning was the vertical space between lines, or something. Or maybe it’s to make us appreciate typography people.
It took ten minutes of practice but I can get 100% mostly consistently now.
I also didn’t know that there could be preferences in kerning. I mean, spacing out letters evenly seems a no-brainer to me.
There aren’t really “preferences,” which is why RealNC’s comment seemed extremely weird to me. (That and, kerning isn’t really “boring work” since 1) it’s kind of fun, and 2) no one really does that much of it, with the exception of actual type designers, who still spend much more time on the letterforms themselves.) So I’ll just assume it was a joke, and that I’m overly sensitive about design-related things.
(The space between lines is called “leading,” by the way.)
By preferences I mean expectations. For example, do you place an “o” under a “Y”, and if yes, how close. How do people perceive character “densities”? Does it look asymmetrical to them? Stuff like that.
Do you mean to say this “game” is silently collecting personal data about my perception of character densities? Looks like 1984 has come, just 35 years late.
Welcome to the Internet.
Not always. I logged well over a hundred hours kerning Sans Sara, and I don’t think the letterforms took me nearly that long (they’re pretty simple bauhaus-style letterforms).
Which doesn’t mean the kerning is actually finished on Sans Sara. Kerning is never, ever finished.
Well, okay, it might make sense to GWAP out kerning of a typeface that’s still in-progress. But the typefaces they’re using are existing, famous typefaces. And of course, as you say, kerning is never done, because it’s dependent on the word, the font, tracking, the color of the type vs background, etc. So I’d be surprised if any more meaningful data could be pulled out of the same ten words at a consistent size than what we already have. Perhaps, instead, they’re seeing which font+word combination is most likely to have its default kerning challenged (through the “think yours is better?” interface)?
I think that covert information gathering is the less likely hypothesis, honestly. “We wanted to make a fun game about kerning and get it talked about” is a thing that normal geeks think.
Sure, I think it’s highly unlikely that their goal is other than as stated; my point is that even if they are data mining, I can’t really see it being useful data.
Well, it’s not personal data to begin with, so there are no legal problems. Take reCAPTCHA as an example. It’s a challenge-response (“CR” for short) system “intended” to make it difficult for bots to register on forums and such. It presents you with two images of letters, which you have to type in order to proceed. But, the real purpose of reCAPTCHA is more sinister than just being an anti-bot system. It presents you with two images. Only one of them is part of the CR. The other one is an image of text that current OCR systems are unable to recognize correctly. So you do the recognition for them. Very old issues of the New York Times are being digitized this way, by reCAPTCHA users all over the world.
That means you’re being used for labor without getting paid. I thought this “kerning” game would be using the same idea; let the “players” come up with the perfect way of kerning characters.
There are many more examples in the Internet where similar things happen. Google for example generates quite interesting data from the search terms people are using. This data can help in predicting stock prices, how a (biological) virus spreads, and more.
Guys, guys. I was making a joke, guys. It was a joke. I spent like a full minute deciding which incorrect number of years would be funniest.
Gasoline on the fire: now they have a character-shape game too!
I didn’t do as well as with the kerning.