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Be Like Google: The Magic of Kerning

June 2, 2014 — By Dr. Pete

Last week, a brave Reddit thread uncovered a shocking discovery. Google had secretly redesigned their logo, probably in the dark of night. The following GIF (via Gizmodo) reveals the radical transformation:


Using an incredible and never-before-seen technique known as "kerning" (if you recall, Kerning was the bad guy in the original Highlander – this may or may not be important later), Google has transformed their brand and catapulted it into the 21st century.

Naturally, it occurred to me – why not use this kerning to benefit other brands? Unlike the Highlander, there can be more than one.

International Kerning Machines

If anyone needs an overhaul, it's Big Blue – IBM's logo has remained mostly untouched for decades. Let's put kerning to work:


Wow, my head is spinning. Give me a minute while I grab my heart medication. I think we can see why this magical power of kerning has been kept away from the public.

When It Absolutely Has to Be Kerned

Whenever some designer wants to sound important, they trot out the FedEx logo and talk about "negative space" and a bunch of other made-up-sounding stuff. Let's get our kern on with FedEx:


Finally, the 'E' can breathe, and we're no longer shackled by some bourgeois interpretation of what an arrow is supposed to look like. Especially when it's an arrow in "negative space," which, by definition, doesn't exist.

Life Happens Over Kerning

Who says kerning has to be restricted to letters? Not me, because I barely know what "kerning" actually means. Let's stop playing by their rules, whoever they are. Dr. Frankenstein didn't play by their rules, and that turned out fi... ok, maybe not actually "fine," but he did get a movie deal out of it, so that's cool.

Anyway, let's see what kerning does to Starbucks recent redesign:


I'm sorry – it's clear to me now that the world was not ready for this. If you have small children in the room with you, I sincerely apologize. As Dr. Frankenstein probably said after he awakened his monster, "Dammit, Igor, where did you put my coffee!" Let us hope future generations learn from this terrible mistake.