Jeremy Mickel runs a Minneapolis-based type foundry and design studio called MCKL where he offers a library of retail fonts, as well as custom typefaces, lettering and logos. His clients range from ESPN to Pentagram and even Kraft Food.

Notable Projects

  • Etsy Logotype
  • Kraft Logotype
  • Nutcase
  • AMC Zing
  • Playoff Pro

How has the type industry as a whole adapted/handled the high demand and use of webfonts? Are production and skill set costs increasing? I think the type industry has been waiting for webfonts for a long time, but they’ve only recently been fully supported by browsers. I think web designers have adapted their designs to the demand of clients who want a consistent typographic voice across all medium, and type designers have adapted with optimized files for hinting and file size to improve performance and reduce load time.

What can be improved with webfonts currently? I think the biggest challenge right now is the discrepancy in pricing. There has to be a way to scale the cost, and traditionally this has been on the number of domains, number of page views, and number of years under a subscription model. But Google Fonts are fairly-well made and completely free, and TypeKit is pretty good and almost free. That threatens to undermine higher quality manually-hinted fonts from foundries like WebType, H&FJ, Commercial Type and others that are charging prices more in line with licensing costs for print fonts.

What makes a webfont or webfont hosting service worth purchasing? The difference between manual and auto hinting can be subtle, but can cause problems with consistency across multiple styles in a family (x-heights, stem weights, overshoot, etc) across all OS and browsers.

Another consideration is technical support and whether the fonts are server-hosted or self-hosted. Server-hosted have the benefit of delivering different files based on the operating system and browser of the end-user.

From your experience, what are some of the complications of producing webfonts? Hinting and file size are the biggest ones. There was a long time where there wasn’t a standard for file format, and then we settled on woff. But now it seems that there may be a preference for ttf or even otf files.

What is one important thing you would like web and graphic designers to know about webfonts? That they still take time and skill to make, and should be paid for!

I think it’s actually all very encouraging though. Now the interactive experience can be just as rich as the print experience, and it’s much easier to track usage, whereas tracking unlicensed usage of print fonts is still impossible.

Which operating system(s) do you use? Mac OS X Mavericks.

How much coffee do you consume on a daily basis? 3–4 cups.