Named one of the Top 10 Typographic Events of 2010 on Imprint by awarded calligrapher and typographer Paul Shaw, the new Paris-based Ypsilon.éditeur has published monographs on two important 20th century French type designers in its Bibliothèque Typographique series. The first of these two books celebrating Latin type design was José Mendoza y Almeida, published in March last year. Written by renowned type designer Martin Majoor and Sébastien Morlighem who oversees the Bibliothèque Typographique, it consists of essays on Pascal, Photina, ITC Mendoza Roman and other less-known typefaces. Seeing the two authors’ gripping presentation at TYPO Berlin 2010 – Passion made me rush to the book stand, buy myself a copy, and have it signed. This excellent book reacquainted me with the work I already knew, and introduced me to more obscure designs of his. This left me quite anxious to get my hands on the second book in the series: Roger Excoffon et la fonderie Olive, written by Sandra Chamaret, Julien Gineste and Sébastien Morlighem, and published last November.
Advertisements (1953-1956) by Fonderie Olive highlighting Vendôme and Choc.
Roger Excoffon (1910-1983) was a major figure in French typography, the graphic arts and visual communication. Most of the typefaces he designed for the Olive foundry in Marseilles between 1945 and 1971 – with the active support of his director Marcel Olive, and his assistants José Mendoza y Almeida and Gérard Blanchard – became classics of advertising printing. Yet despite their omnipresence in the French urban landscape and beyond – or maybe because of it – Excoffon’s creations seem to have fallen from grace, especially since Modernism in the 1960s. On a personal level, these quintessential French faces are part of my cultural heritage. My two grand-mothers came from Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium; my brother, sister and I were raised in French; and we spent almost all of our childhood summer holidays at the Côte d’Azur…
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