Font pairings to make web reading more delightful.
Kernest was a service with the goal of offering a library of open-source web fonts that designers could feel comfortable using in any project, whether it be for web or print, that was popular in the late 2000’s.
Konstellations are curated pairings of fonts that work well together plucked from the Kernest collection with an accompanying write-up describing why the pairing is successful and an HTML style-guide sample allowing designers to utilize the pairings in their own work.
Designer, Front-End Developer
As developers began experimenting with web fonts across all browsers, Minneapolis-based type enthusiast Garrick Van Buren, announced a new type-as-a-service project dubbed Kernest. The project was created with the goal of offering a library of open-source web fonts that designers could feel comfortable using in any project, whether it be for web or print. To increase awareness and set itself apart from competitor services such as Typekit, Kernest began offering Konstellations as part of a monthly email newsletter.
Konstellations are curated pairings of fonts that work well together plucked from the Kernest collection. Accompanied by a write-up from the font experts at Kernest, Konstellations aimed to educate and empower designers to utilize the font pairings in their own projects and make reading online more engaging
During the summer of 2011, I began an apprentice-style internship with Van Buren. What began as a summer job evolved into a part-time position that carried me through completion of my undergraduate degree in 2012. During that time I was introduced to the possibilities of open-source software to grow the web for a greater good. A few months into my internship, I became the primary curator for Kernest Konstellations. Over the course of the project, I created more than a dozen of the font-pairings, style-guides and email newsletters. It helped me learn a lot about typography for the web, open-source development, and HTML/CSS.
One my most meaningful takeaways from this experience has been the knowledge gained of front-end web development and how this has helped me foster more effective communication and problem-solving skills when working with development teams in my current role as a UX designer.
Fast forward to 2023 and Kernest and Konstellations are no longer the ground-breaking idea they once were. As open-source typography has become more and more popular, the number of type services available online has grown and pairing fonts is no longer an innovative concept, but rather a requirement of most digital creative endeavors. Kernest.com has since closed it’s (virtual) doors for business but the ideas sparked from the development of Konstellations has shaped my perception and eye for font use in digital environments in a way that is unique to many of my fellow designers.