If you love Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, Emmet Otter, Bert and Ernie, Statler and Waldorf and Big Bird, then you are probably interested in all things created by Jim Henson. The late artist was the creator of the Muppets, founder of the Jim Henson Company and also a beloved performer for characters like Kermit the Frog, Ernie and Rowlf the Dog. Henson died on May 16, 1990, but his legacy lives on. Now you can capture a bit of the zeitgeist by downloading a special font inspired by the lovable creativity of Jim Henson. The font, Kernit, is a weird, wonderful, and psychedelic typeface available for free in two weights: bold and outline.
Kernit was originally created by design teams at MCKL and COLLINS for a Jim Henson exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens, which is one of the most underrated museums in all the five boroughs. The whimsical font is a nod to the name Kermit and the typographical term “kerning,” which refers to the way designers adjust the spacing between the letters.
Now you can download a font file of Kernit, by visiting this website. Kernit’s two versions can be used interchangeably to add movement to layouts. The font harkens back to the “Anything Muppets” that Henson used to create the puppets for his TV shows. Anything Muppets are empty muppets heads. The facial features, bodies and clothes can be adjusted on these blank heads to make any kind of character.
The Henson exhibit is a permanent collection of artifacts from the Muppet Show, the Muppet movies, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth. It also includes material from Henson’s experimental film projects and his early work, presenting him as a restlessly creative performer, filmmaker, and technical innovator. There are almost 300 objects on display, including 47 puppets. Most of the objects were given to the Museum by Henson’s family. Artists who visit the exhibition can see character sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, and costumes. Film and television clips and behind-the-scenes footage are also available for viewing on monitors and projectors.
COLLINS is an independent brand experience design company. It specializes in products, environments and communications that are designed to improve people’s lives. COLLINS was a natural fit for the Kernit font because the company’s ethos is “putting imagination at the center of everything we do.” The LA-based design studio publishes fonts and provides general design services.
MCKL was founded by Jeremy Mickel, its CEO and principal designer. MCKL has collaborated with design studios, companies, and organizations around the world to produce custom typeface and logo services.
Teams from COLLINS and MCKL immersed themselves in the entire oeuvre of Henson’s work, starting with his early experimental films and continuing through movies like Dark Crystal. The Kernit typeface is intended to capture the same mind that produced such groundbreaking and magical works of art, with whimsy, fun, and a touch of darkness. The influence of late 1970’s typography, with its rounded letters and playful edges, is also a major influence. Henson’s creativity was immense in the 1970’s, so the reference makes perfect sense.