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Work / Graphic Design

What do you call a typeface inspired by Jim Henson? Kernit!

There’s not much we love more than a good pun here at It’s Nice That, so when we stumbled across Collins’ latest typeface, we had to find out more. Developed by the agency’s design director, Jules Tardy and its creative director Thomas Wilder, the typeface is inspired by the renowned puppeteer, cartoonist and filmmaker and mastermind behind The Muppets: Jim Henson. Its name? Kernit.

“Kernit was developed as part of our initial design exploration here at Collins, for The Jim Henson Exhibition at The Museum of Moving Image in New York City,” explains Jules. As huge fans of Henson, Jules and Thomas began by fully immersing themselves in his work; from his early film experiments to The Muppets and his later work with productions like Dark Crystal.

Full of curves, with the counters and eyes of the letters appearing squished, Kernit is full of energy, as if it could spring off the page. “Our goal was to build a voice that is both unique and true to Henson’s work and visual style,” they explain. “Each letter and character is meant to capture the same imagination, fun and whimsy which we came to love in his creations.”

As well as its obvious influences in its name and the colour palette of its specimen, Kernit was inspired by a host of Henson’s characters as well as the bold typography of the 1970s: an era of rounded edges. For example, Milton Glaser’s iconic “I love New York” logo with its curved serifs debuted in 1973.

Available in a bold weight, Kernit also features an outline version which can be mixed together to “bring breaks and visual rhythm to layouts”. Jules and Thomas worked collaboratively on the project, without defined roles but the project also saw them working with Los Angeles-based type foundry MCKL who helped them “expand and refine the typeface for release” and Fictive Kin who the developed the website.

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit

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Collins: Kernit