MCKL, Logic

Name: Logic Monospace
Designer: Jeremy Mickel

Foundry: MCKL
Release Date: Fall 2020

Back Story: Mixing technical precision, typewriter fetishization, and “renaissance flair,” according to its creators, Logic Monospace/Monoscript takes in a number of reference points, including midcentury typewriter fonts (such as IBM Selectric’s Advocate and that old familiar system font, Courier), slab serifs like Stephenson Blake’s Scarab and the very modern, novel drive to create a truly connecting monospace script—in fact, this is one of the only ones in existence, we’re told.

As its name might suggest, this is a font that’s for function: no-nonsense, information-presenting occasions where anything flowery or billboard-worthy is totally unnecessary. Still, there’s a certain charm to it, and that’s no accident. “Designing the monoscript was a unique engineering challenge, to try and get it to feel natural while still conforming to the standard widths of a typewriter font,” says Jeremy Mickel, who heads up Los Angeles-based type studio MCKL. 

“I’ve always liked using monospace fonts in my own layouts and presentations,” he adds. “As a type designer, everything I’m showing to clients is type, so I like to use a mono for captions, footers, and other text that’s meant to just feel like information. In the past I would use Courier… but I didn’t design it… so I started to think I should just design my own.” The result is, as he puts it, “my first monospace and my first true script.”

In terms of existing fonts, among Logic’s monospace siblings are Pitch and Vulf Mono, but Mickel was keen to create something novel with unique qualities. He began sketching the font in 2015, before—as with so many font designs—it was “left in a drawer for a while” and resurrected with the help of MCKL designer Douglas Hayes in 2018. An early version was used by Oliver Munday and Peter Mendelsund at The Atlantic as part of the magazine’s redesign in November 2019, and the full family (a monospace typeface in five weights of roman and italic styles, with a special connecting script version) was finally published late last year. The font was launched with a little help from Zipeng Zhu, who designed the specimens and offers feedback and testing for all MCKL’s fonts during the design process.

Why’s it called Logic? After a couple of naming ideas that didn’t stick, Logic came to Mickel when he took a Python for Designers course early on in lockdown. He wrote down the word “Logic,” and it just fit. “It seemed appropriate to a technical font that you might use for coding, and there was a lot of logic that went into making the script work,” he says, conceding that, “naming fonts is the worst! Either the right name comes to you right at the beginning or it’s pulling teeth up until publication. And even then you have to check and make sure no one else has published a font with the same name in the time in between.”

What are its distinguishing characteristics? The monoscript version is the most obvious (there are also some swash caps in the script version that are worth noting), but outside of that, Logic’s Black weight is heavier than you’d find in most monospaced fonts. Meanwhile, looped alternates are used for the g, j, l and y in the italic and script, “which I think are a fun novelty,” says Mickel. There’s also a cheeky rotated # sign.

“Since Logic is technically a slab serif monospace, I looked at lots of other historical fonts to see where I could push the forms to make them more specific and interesting,” says Mickel, who referenced Italian signage and lettering in the monoscript form, realizing that some uses of the font started to take on the feel of classic scooter or espresso machine logos.

“I set out with the challenge of making all the lowercase glyphs connect as naturally as possible across all weights from Light to Black, which was particularly tricky in the heavier weights,” he says. “This required the addition of lots of alternates—for example, there are special versions of each letter for how they connect to r, s, x, and z, and even the i, f, j, l, and t have alternates that connect at a slightly higher position to keep the rhythm consistent.”

MCKL, Logic

What should I use it for? Since it’s so, well, logical, Logic is a dream for body copy or large chunks of text—Mickel has used it as such on his own website. This also translates to its usefulness in editorial projects, as demonstrated by The Atlantic team trialing that early version in captions, headlines, and the logo for White Noise, a documentary produced by the publication. While he’s not suggested anything too specific, Mickel says he’d “love to see someone have fun with the swash caps in the script.”

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? For all its body copy usefulness and general workhorse-like qualities, Logic has “a fair amount of personality, especially if you utilize the script,” says Mickel. As such, he advises pairing it with more neutral fonts like Graphik by Commercial Type, or MCKL’s Fort typeface. “The Atlantic uses Adobe Garamond beautifully, and that’s been a nice contrast—the old style grace of Garamond with the midcentury technical quality of Logic,” says Mickel.