Planet typography Sentinel Type

Midnight Kernboy

Birthdate: 2004; retooled 2005
Legal status: Free for personal; pay for commercial use
Classification: Rectilinear slab serif (semi-serif)
Description: a progressive slab serif designed for display settings and restrained text use. The package includes regular, italic, bold and stencil versions, all with complete Western European character set. The design is based on the widely-used City font.
Midnight Kernboy

James Arboghast

JamesLocation and year of birth: Melbourne, 1963
His life in brief: “I grew up in the liberal culture-capital city of Melbourne, and later in England, mesmerized by visual art, literature, industrial design and science-fiction cinema. After studying art history & graphic design in college I worked as a technical consultant, photographer & press agent in the music business. In my 30’s I switched to creative consulting & copy writing for advertising, at the same time dabbling in industrial design & audio engineering.
I became interested in typography only recently (2001) as a synthesis of all of my life-long interests. The themes and inspiration for my fonts mostly come from art & design disciplines outside of typography. Right from the beginning I have looked to industrial design, cinematic design and architecture for shapes, structures, details, themes and ideas.
My type designs are very much a form of personal artistic expression uncompromised by commercial demands. I sell most of them for money because giving away works of art you’ve put a huge effort into de-values the creation. Most users have no concept of how much effort goes into an original high-quality font.
At the same time I believe very strongly in the spirit of giving. Yet I see a vast number of poorly-designed free fonts have undermined type design. So I make some of my fonts free as a way of redeeming free type, by allowing people to play with a few well-crafted original fonts that give good results. Its paradoxical but I’m philosophical about it: if all font-makers did the same there would be far fewer free fonts and the quality much higher.”

Midnight Kernboy: how ? why ?
“Midnight Kernboy was an experiment to discover why nobody had made a slab serif font with a semi-serif layout. I made one and found the combination of round letter bodies and counterposed slabs did not harmonize. So I tried again with square letter bodies and found the combination intuitive and natural. The square bodies and slabs fit together neatly like pieces of a puzzle.
A traditional ‘fault’, if you like, of Egyptians is their long slab serifs. This makes them well-suited to graphic design work but works against readability, so I made Kernboy’s slabs short to make it useful for text - and keep things interesting. The letter forms are also simpler and cleaner than the traditional forms of City.
Kernboy has a few other interesting features like the fractured ‘c’ and alternate ‘a’. I’m fascinated by fractured or ‘broken’ letter design. Usually you only see it in gothic types or blackletters, and I wanted to find out if fractured outlines could work in a western-Italian type style.”

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Sentinel Type

Midnight Kernboy