Lifestyle

Creative Space: Mikko Sumulong

Have you ever wondered what it's like to make your own handwritten fonts?
IMAGE Mikko Sumulong | instagram.com/mikkomix, instagram.com/mixfonts.xyz ART Clare Magno

Mikko isn't a stranger to Candy, being a regular contributor and one of the crafty collaborators of The Candy DIY Book. This week, we talk to her about her new venture in the arts: handwritten typefaces that she designs using her own handwriting. Read on to find out more about her creative space.

Introductions first. "I'm Mikko Sumulong, 33. I'm a crafter, writer, and handwritten typeface designer."

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How I started designing fonts. "I've always had a habit of doodling in notebooks and journals when I was bored. I kept a planner in high school filled with hand lettering. Around the same time, I got my first personal computer (doesn't that make me so old?) and started collecting all sorts of fonts. I kept doodling alphabets in notebooks, daydreaming about how they would be great fonts. Until one day, I discovered a website called YourFonts.Com. The first font I ever made was a straightforward replica of my handwriting. I actually created it because I wanted to be able to do my job faster. I was too lazy to fill up forms every day by hand.

"Later on, I discovered apps and typeface design software. I kept making more and more. I always made sure to keep the handmade feel ever-present. Most people know me as a crafter, but actually I'm quite techy. I can geek out on HTML and troubleshooting software. I guess handwritten typeface design was a perfect way of marrying my love for technology and everything handmade.

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"About three years ago, I submitted some of my work to a few font-sharing websites. When companies and ad agencies started contacting me about commercial use, I realized I could make something more out of what I thought was just a hobby. By the end of this year, I will hit the million mark for downloads of my fonts. That's crazy!" 

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My creative mess. "There's always a bunch of pens, pencils, markers, brushes, chalk and crayons. I try to use all sorts of writing implements until I find a look I like. I keep a couple of sketchbooks, notepads, and index cards to catalog the raw designs. I then use my laptop or tablet to actually convert them into digital form. My desk is always a mess, but it's a definitely a beautiful crafty mess.

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Design time. "I'm not a morning person, but I find that my most creative styles come out early in the day! I often find myself doodling letters while downing my morning coffee or binging on shows on Netflix. I guess the less I overthink things, the more creative the work becomes. Come afternoon, when my brain is actually awake, I'm able to do all the technical magic on my computer to bring paper to pixel."

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Playing favorites. " My favorite font by someone else is Lunar Blossom, by Set Sail Studios. It's such a great brush lettering font! There are so many great uses for it, and is certainly in trend nowadays.

"From my own work, Mix Brush has always been a favorite. It's one of those I seem to spot in the most random places, too. It's been on pages of magazines, and even on a mall's signage. Lately though, I've found a soft spot for one of my newer designs. Mix Sonnet reminds me of poems I used to secretly write in the last pages of my high school notebooks."

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Fave font memory. "I still can't believe that my font was used in the movie Paper Planes (starring Sam Worthington!!!). I think I nearly cried when I first saw the font (Mix Striped) in the trailer. I made sure to watch the movie, and even ordered the DVD. I still can’t believe that that happened."

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Dream project. "I want to write another book! I want to talk about digital typography and my typeface design process. I have mantras that run in my head when I do this type of work. I'd love to put those thoughts into printed word and share it with others."

Insta-inspo. "My current faves are: @bymelindacooper, @meikonagao, @setsailstudios, and @papergumboots."

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You can check out Mikko's handwritten fonts on www.mixfonts.xyz!

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Macy Alcaraz
Former Editor in Chief, candymag.com
When she's not busy online, she's in the kitchen on a mission to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
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