Xe^lTonde Royal Plancoet <0Ss^ pENOSJIBf cone Sponghero I I LESPEcherics MdROUSSM P* P* P* After studying at the Atelier National de Creation typographique (ANCT), Jean-Franfois Porchez (age31) worked as a typographic designer and consultant at the Dragon Rouge agency. His first two creations, FF Angie (1990), g; distributed by Fontshop, and Apolline 1993), available at Agfatype, obtained prizes at the Morisawa Awards cere s' mony during the international competition of typographic design. But his finest success is the Le Monde charac- p ter font that he created for the new format of the French daily of the same name in 1995. He recently designed the Parisine character font for the RATPit will be used for the new signs in the Paris metro. ■T) a How did you become a typographic designer? My interest in designing letters started when I was studying graphic art. My 2 intuitive approach was encouraged by some of my teachers - themselves trainees at the ANCT. I was strongly influenced by a O ON very structured form of teaching of drawing and nude sketching. I quickly established links between calligraphy and typography. By a 2 my third year I had designed an entire alphabet, Angie, which 04 o received a prize at the Morisawa Awards in Japan. This distinction s enabled me to enter ANCT. Things started to happened after that. Mi Apolline romain alternatives oj 11 faut conserver a la lettre^ Apolline petites capitales a expert I'aspeft d'un dessin i* Apolline italique alternatives au lieu de lui imposer If Apolline italique expert Jo une forme geometrique, Apolline demi-gras alternatives en un mot la sauver Apolline demi-gras italique alternatives de cette executable^ Apolline gras alternatives p» perfection *0 Apolline gras italique alternatives la secheresse. Arabesques ornements George Auriol Are your typographic references rooted in classical, modern or contemporary sources? They relate to interruptions in the development of writing over the centu ries. I'm thinking of Charlemagne and the Carolingian lower-case letter, of the Renaissance and the early Roman characters, of printed forms, the outcome of a cul tural revolution which opposes monolithic and totalitarian thought. I'm also thin king of the Age of Enlightenment, and Fournier who was the first to introduce the typographic family In the 19th and 20th centuries, I admire the Englishmen William Morris and Stanley Morison, and the German Tschichold in his second period. T| We must distinguish the history of graphic design, which begins with the industrial revolution at the end of the 19th century, from the history of typographic design and the beginnings of writing. There is a parallel here between the history of art and the history of writing. The problem of form in typographic design is closely linked to the history of our societies. Each typographic revolution derives from a new political vision of the world. Is the design of the Le Monde character font the conclusion of this line of thought Yes, in a way. I deliberately mentioned the Renaissance period. The principles of free expression defended by this daily newspaper deserved this correlation. The message got through to the editorial team. Can typography influence our perception of the written word The digital revolution now underway is sha- and justify its transformation The structure of letters has remained the same since the invention of printing. Only our per ception has shifted and typography must adapt to this shift. Unlike some of my typographic designer friends such as Pierre di Sciullo, I serve the author and the reader. I do not want to add more concepts*. I practice invisible typography*.There are so many ways of making typography invisible. king up the typographic industry. Is there a risk that signs will become trivialised, more uniform? Free access to character fonts and character design software requires greater disci pline and analysis on the part of graphic desi gners who must re-think the use of the signs and forms libraries which are proposed. Charac ters are now an integral part of images. The designer must free himself from the standardized circle, square and triangle forms that computer technologies imposes. It is important that the graphic design confronts cultural diversity. Resistance (in the positive sense of the term) must be mounted by the graphic design industry. What is your view of typographic creation in France? There is a clear rebirth in progress. Despite the influence of economic factors, which have meant that the typographic industry has been the preserve of the English-speaking coun tries for the last century, resistance is possible. Today, American font-makers like Adobe or Agfatype are noticeably interested in Latin typo graphic models. French graphic designers have become aware of this fact. Perhaps we are seeing a return of the Great South, even though we are not totally Mediterranean. Can cultural diversity revitalise typographic creation? Definitely.As far as I am concerned, when I design l'Apolline my references are taken from Arabic culture, especially from the ornamentation of early 20th century Moroccan ceramics.Typo graphy has developed for centuries through the many cultural exchanges between Europe and the rest of the world. This is crucial to typographic creation and this trend can only continue. How did you handle the transition to computerisation in your profession? Fairly well.What mainly bothered me was the inflexibility of technology (the technological constraints place a major obstacle on creativity) and the loss of a degree of sensuality in design. I learnt typographic design by directly writing. This allows you to find out how a word, a string of words and a text actually function I then know where I need to intervene to formalise the writing, to obtain a flowing character. The compu ter allows you to substantially develop the art of writing, the mobility of characters.

Signes - Bulletin Ars Publica fr | 1996 | | page 79