“… I don’t like luxury in typography the use of gold or brilliant paper” – Willem Sandberg, one-time director of the rather austere Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam, probably wouldn’t approve of the current job for Leicester Cathedral, based on a strange drop-shadowed variant of Gill Sans once seen in mid-century promotions for Monotype;
But then the brief called for opulence, while the wayfinding requirement (around a large underlit cathedral by inebriated guests) certainly called for clarity. With the ability to tint both the face and the shadow of the design independently of each other, the job satifies those criteria and a current fashion for ‘coloured fonts’.
Jean François Porchez of the typofonderie delivered an interesting Type Talk at the Typographic Hub at Birmingham City University last Thursday April 14th.
Titled ‘Adding value to the invisibility of typefaces’ the talk detailed his firms input to the visual language of Paris via signal commissions for Parisine, the typeface of the French métro operator RATP.
There was an explanation of the problems encountered with translation to bus destination board signage, along with the complexities of French direction-finding and signage.
He also showed historical considerations for talking about type development, and rounded out with discussion of commercial commissions for the Galeries Lafayette in Paris and an American consulting firm whose house typeface is the very attractive Henderson family (serif, sans and slab). Some jobs are simply more successful than others, even when they occur on home territory.
I’m grateful to Geraldine Marshall for organising the event, David Osbaldestin who invited me along, and Jeff Leak for showing me around and introducing me.