Is my opinion that type designers don’t lose control on their typefaces if someone else does the metrics. Designing shapes and letterfitting can be independent, even if connected, tasks because they have independent goals. Glyphs have to be good. Spacing and kerning have to be right. Separating these tasks means: everyone doing what he can do best.
I participate in works that I would not be able to carry out myself and which I may learn from. But that would be different without my contribution. There are designs I can enlight; and which may further highlight my own work. iKern is a service but I prefere to consider it a ‘collaboration’.
I let the following kind designers speak for me now. It’s been up to them having let me handle their glyphs: they experienced something I can only imagine. Their words mean a lot to me: respect, understanding and, not least, public acknowledgment. I know how difficult it may be, operating in a field where the perceived value of the typeface product is so important. I’ll never cease to thank them for this: iKern is an independent initiative; these words are the only ones.

Nikola Djurek


Nikola Djurek, Typonine: «The font projects we’re involved in become more complex every day. Even if the technological progress is here to help, we’re mainly asked to have ideas and let them become curves and spaces. And then typefaces. The iKern service helped us to make this path an effective and controllable process and we’re satisfied.»

Mark van Bronkhorst

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Mark van Bronkhorst, MVB Fonts: «Igino handled the spacing and kerning of the Sweet® Sans familiy for me. His iKern service meant that I could focus on design. There was a bit of back-and-forth to get settings just right, a process I found positive, as I could guide how the spacing and kerning were applied. Once the settings were in order, large character sets fell into place quickly. His method applies remarkably consistent sidebearings (not just kerning). Instead of manually applying sidebearings, then kerning by hand for days on end, one gets to a place that’s 90-percent-something “done”, the focus shifted from doing drudgery to making adjustments. I’ve always felt that font metrics could be automated, particularly with fairly regular typefaces. Finally someone has figured out how to get it right. Igino works fast, and I appreciate that his fees are affordable.»

Philip Bouwsma

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Philip Bouwsma, Canada Type: «Calligraphers are ever concerned about marrying math and calligraphy. Igino Marini’s way of doing things seems to do just that in a very good way. His work on my Lorenzo calligraphic text family helped speed things up tremendously.»

Jeff Warrington


Jeff Warrington, The Look Partnership: «I am excited to work with Igino and iKern. As a solo designer—and a control freak—iKern is a productive way to outsource spacing, kerning and font engineering, enabling me to focus on design, without loosing momentum to the tedious, but critical aspects of producing quality fonts.»

Thomas Schostok & Stefan Claudius

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Thomas Schostok & Stefan Claudius, Cape Arcona Type Foundry: «We at the Cape have a wonderful life. Half of the day we are lying at the pool and drinking cocktails and the other half we work on typefaces. We love working on fonts, but love cocktails a little bit more. Everyone will understand, that each hour that we could spare of working on spacing and kerning is of great value and can be invested into “action at pool”. Igino’s iKern was the solution to our problem! iKern did a wonderful job and is surly the proof that machines can take on man made work. We love iKern and the professional results it creates. Before iKern we thought of this part of font production as somehow old-fashioned. You see, human mankind shot rockets to faraway planets; probes land on asteroids and came back to earth, but type designers still doing spacing and kerning by hand. For Cape Arcona, iKern is the NASA of kerning.»

Jan Schmoeger

paragraph100x100Jan Schmoeger, Paragraph: « The sans-serif typeface Frutiger was everywhere in 1980. In the late eighties it was replaced by Stone Sans, then Myriad came along in 1992. In 2008 I attempted to rejuvenate these great typefaces. I analysed the proportions and spacing of Frutiger and used the principles as a base for my own typeface, Mentone. There were only a very few kerning pairs in the original, so I thought it will be fine if I’ll do the same. By the time I added the Central European, Baltic and Turkish characters, I was way out of my depth. Eight fonts in the family, each requiring individual spacing and kerning adjustments, would have added months of work to the task. Then Igino Marini and iKern came to the rescue: the number of kerning pairs went up tenfold (from 135 to 1345), the spacing and kerning from bumpy/simplified to smooth/comprehensive. Now, I cannot imagine designing new typefaces any other way.»

Jos Buivenga

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Jos Buivenga, Exljbris Font Foundry: «It was kind of a remarkable coincidence that Igino contacted me with a reworked version of (my first) Anivers just at the moment that I was working on extending it to a complete family. The example he send me looked stunning. It made music to my eyes and I was instantly convinced of the fact that iKern could save me a lot of time. Igino and iKern did a wonderful job on Anivers and also on the recently released Fertigo Pro. I hope our collaboration will last a life time, because I wouldn’t want to design type any other way». And then followed Museo Sans, Calluna Serif, Museo Slab, some Museo for Dell, Calluna Sans, Museo Italic, ….

Me and Jos Buivenga (on the right)

Lasko Dzurovski

totemlogoLasko Dzurovski, Totem design+print: «My collaboration with Igino started when i found myself overwhelmed with the big volume and short deadline of my most recent project, which included creation of fonts with over 15000 characters. The kerning, personally the most difficult part for me, took me a lot of time and I wouldn’t have done it as perfectly as Igino with the iKern. A little twist in the glass was added when Igino had to deal with all the specific Cyrillic characters which have different kerning features, and he made it all work. iKern will definitely be an important part of my future projects.»

Peter Biľak


Peter Biľak, Typotheque: «Our fonts grew overtime from 200+ glyphs to 2000+ glyphs. This brings a new level of complexity for font development, and it is no longer possible to create by hand thousands of metric data. iKern helped us especially with expansions of character sets.»

Patrick Griffin


Patrick Griffin, Canada Type: «Igino Marini’s iKern system trumps every other font metrics method I’ve seen. Its advantage points over other fitting and kerning systems range from exception-aware mathematical modules to speedy global counterspace tweaking precision. It’s one of those things where the fonts you send in are all out of whack, and when you get them back they slap you awake with how much sense they make. And there’s a cherry on top: This great system couldn’t have been developed by a nicer or more accommodating guy. Igino truly is the Walter Tracy of the digital type era. Type designers who have worked with him know for a fact that we are very lucky to have him.»

Hannes von Döhren


Hannes von Döhren: «The work with Igino was a nice cooperation. I had to kern a 12 font family and in this case I hadn’t a multiple master as a basis. Although you can interpolate some steps it would have been still a huge effort of time to space and kern these family members perfectly. So I decided to give the files to Igino. I think he and his iKern program did a great job. I worked with Igino several times now, for different bigger font families, and I have to say that the results are always very good and Igino works fast. So I would always work with him again and look forward to the next project I can involve his work.»

Mugur Mihai


Mugur Mihai: «After spending about two weeks trying to space and kern my first typeface I have come to the conclusion that this task will take me forever. So, I decided to try Igino’s iKern service. I was amazed to see that after three emails in a couple of days I got my font back properly spaced and kerned, exactly as I was intending. Incredible service that saves you a lot of time and money. I will definitely use it again.»

Mark Caneso

psType_logoMark Caneso, p.s.type : «A huge thank you to Igino for his IKern Service. The greatest aspect of IKern, aside from the amazing job of spacing and kerning, is that it frees up so much time that can be focused on the creation of  new designs and ideas. It was a pleasure working with Igino and I will definitely be collaborating with him again in the future.»

Giangiorgio Fuga

gftGiangiorgio Fuga, Giò Fuga Type: «I’m drawing and then digitizing fonts from many years. The most difficult step, but also the more boring because it takes much time, has always been the control of the metrics and the optical balance of kerning pairs. The advent of OpenType format, with its endless possibilities including the management of several enconding and therefore a much increased number of glyphs, made the kerning production a mammoth task. The various autokern functions already present in Fontographer or FontLab kerning assistance are not able to well and completely operate.
In my last work I found myself designing a custom font in three variables for Yamaha Motor, which included nearly 1200 glyphs each for the presence, besides the Latin alphabet, of Cyrillic and also Extended Greek. A manual optimization of kerning, especially for italic, would have been costly in time and certainly without harmonious and complete results.
Well, Igino’s Ikern “Type Design Service” has proved to be essential for a definitive fine tuning of the font family. I’m going to take advantage of his valuable service for all my fonts I’m upgrading to OpenType version. Thanks Igino!»

Stuart Sandler

fontbroslogoStuart Sandler, Font Bros: «Having designed display typefaces since 1996, I was extremely skeptical about the ability for any automated process to be able to replace what I knew to be quality spacing and kerning. Clearly Fontographer and Fontlab cannot perform this, so how could iKern? Out of curiosity I felt the need to determine if Igino’s service would be even close to the demands of display type which requires much more complexity due to the lack of consistent forms compared to a basic Roman typeface. Turns out I was totally wrong! Ikern not only did as good a job as I’ve seen, but did it without ‘cheating’ by adding tons of kerns as I had expected … The spacing was meticulous and dead-on and the kerning was kept minimal to what was necessary to make the font display well without being loaded with unnecessary kern pairs … Not only do I continue to recommend iKern to other type designers, but I’m happy to keep Igino busy!»

Michael Doret

AlphabetSoup_logoMichael Doret, Alphabet Soup Type Founders: «I’m fairly new to the font world, only having five designs under my belt. Part of what slows me up is my dread of dealing with spacing and kerning. My friend Stuart Sandler suggested that on my next project I try Igino’s iKern service. I did, and to my shock and amazement my font came back as good or better than I would have done it myself! I will definitely be a return customer. iKern has made the fontmaking process much less forbidding to people like me.»

Oguzhan Ocalan

Logo GravitartOguzhan Ocalan, Gravitart: «In type design, time and an experienced eye are always very important. The iKern service allows designers to focus more on designing and achieve good results faster. To Those who design typefaces but are not experienced in font development or don’t have the time to do the development themselves, I can truly recommend Igino’s service. Not only is he a very nice and helpful person, he’s also doing a great job and will definitely deserve big thanks at the end.»

Angus R. Shamal

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Angus R. Shamal, ARS Type: «Most people who use high quality typefaces in their profession choose them because they know they can rely on them to perform effortlessly and consistently well in the tasks they were designed for. An important factor in building such trust in a typeface, is good letter spacing and kerning.My collaboration with Igino Marini and his iKern system started at the last stages of my redesign of ARS Maquette Pro. Early on I knew this will be a complex project that involves not only over 1200 characters per style, but also many alternates and a Display cuts, which would require different types of spacing — all coexisting within each single style of the family. This proved to be a challenging process to both myself and the iKern system. In order for this to work well, it needed a good grasp of the design and its theories — something that mathematics alone would not achieve. Igino understands this — and thanks to his true professional and hands-on approach in this project, we were able to pull it off in a reasonable amount of time avoiding undesirable compromises. The iKern system excelled as an invaluable and flexible tool that is able to adapt even to the most complex of tasks. Hopefully the results speak for themselves.»

Livius Dietzel

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Livius Dietzel, Studio Livius Dietzel: «Igino’s iKern is a programme, but it doesn’t feel like one. The rhythm of the kerned fonts look like they were carefully done by hand. Thanks also for the technical help.»

Rob Keller

mota_italic_logoRob Keller, Mota Italic: «Ever since meeting Igino in 2007 and seeing iKern work its magic first hand I have been an impressed fan. iKern’s headache-inducingly-complex algorithms assure consistent and even spacing; and the results are always fine-tuned exactly to the designer requests. Its strength and usefulness comes not only from the fine spacing and kerning it creates for thousands of glyphs, but it is flexible in handling special exceptions. For us, it easily accommodated an intricate system of alternates – integrating the hundreds of substitutions seamlessly while respecting the way they function. This agility, and the fact it is fully customizable, means that iKern can adapt to nearly any set of problems or needs. iKern certainly has our recommendation!»

Stefan Willerstorfer

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Stefan Willerstorfer, Willerstorfer Font Foundry: «Collaborating with Igino is a very professional experience. During the goal-oriented correspondence there is always enough time for discussing various details and for considering alternative solutions. I am very impressed by how well his iKern service works and how capable he is of applying even slight changes we have agreed upon. I appreciate Igino’s opinion and his expertise during our collaboration and I am very pleased with the final results – typefaces that are perfectly spaced and kerned. The results of iKern can even bear up against very critical eyes.»

Henrik Kubel

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Henrik Kubel, A2-TYPE: «Igino’s iKern service enabled us to finish and release a large amount of faces to a high standard: FM, Maximum, Grot10, Outsiders, Typewriter, Battersea, Klampenborg, Kunstuff, Vogue Paris et al. The iKern system is now an integral part of how we space and kern our fonts – most importantly it gives me time to concentrate on other parts of the design. Great thanks to Jos Buivenga for recommending Igino to me at the ATypI conference in Dublin – it’s literally the best thing that happened in 2010, font wise.»

Michele Patanè


Michele Patanè, Cinetype, tutor at the Corso di Alta Formazione in Type Design,, Consorzio del Politecnico di Milano: «Font design must regard idea and development, two essential aspects of the design process, both necessary and with different time implications. How many typefaces will never be used because designer don’t have enough time to develop them? We can’t forget how important is spacing and kerning correctly a font, and how much time it requires. In my recent experience with iKern I can say without any rhetoric that this a turning point of the typeface design process. Now we can test different spacing, quickly, for different application or any kind of use dimension; we can save time and be sure that we won’t occur in errors caused by repetitive operations. I believe blindly in eye function as a meter of judgement, but I am sure that my eye need time to understand things and to refresh attention. With iKern now I can pay more attention to the little shades and be sure that everything is going for the best result.
And I’d like to focus again on the design process because I think It is necessary for typeface design to find the right way to produce high quality font at the right price. If we save time we can cut costs increasing quality because we can pass most of the time on designing and testing the font instead of on repetitive jobs that a computer can do better than us.»

Brian Jaramillo

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Brian Jaramillo, type designer, Veer, MyFonts, co-founder of «I feel like I was fortunate to discover Igino’s service. I’ve sent him more than a dozen fonts for spacing and kerning and all of them have come back technically perfect in a timely manner. I don’t know how he does it, but every typeface I’ve sent has come back perfect, to my eyes. Instead of days spent spacing and kerning, I can devote more time to creating. Thanks Igino.»

Karsten Luecke

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Karsten Luecke, Karsten Luecke Type Foundry: «One thing that repeatedly strikes me is a rather abstract discussion, and vehement rejection, of automatic spacing. Whether spacing is done manually or automatically is not relevant. It is spacing theories which are relevant because it is them that determine results — regardless of whether these theories are applied manually or automatically. And while manual spacing usually means “just doing it”, automatic spacing is not possible without having formulated a theory which then can be checked, refined, even be replaced by another theory.
When discussing iKern spacing with Igino, which discussion is an essential part of the process, the type designer needs to consider the typeface’s spacing as a system. It is not about adjusting this or that specific pair. It is about adjusting one or more global parameters which has an effect on a number of visually similar specific pairs. For Igino, as master of his theory, the discussion means that he needs to decide whether adjusting some parameters (as anticipated by his theory) will do or whether (part of) his program (and thus the theory itself) needs to be reconsidered and rewritten.
The question is not: manual or automatic? but rather: what effects does the theory produce? The iKern theory, judging by the results, looks pretty sound. And where not, being a theory formulated as program, it is open for discussion and refinement. Compare this to the “gut feeling” driven designer who may still be wondering whether he got this or that specific pair right …»