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  • Putting a Name to a Face
  • Post author
    Mark Lightfoot

Putting a Name to a Face

Putting a Name to a Face

Typefaces are everywhere. We tend not to think about them. They melt into the background, working quietly to help communicate an emotion, tell a story or carry a mood. It’s the ultimate in subconscious manipulation. Well chosen, they are in a sense invisible. When you see a brandname - like Balenciaga, or Loewe - you don’t see the typeface, you see the brand name. But the typeface is doing all the heavy lifting. Under the art direction of Julien Gallico, Balenciaga had a specially commissioned font “Bal10" designed, itself a reworking of the typeface U8 designed by Anton Koovit. The story behind the Loewe type face is equally interesting. The design duo M/M used a custom face loosely based on a forgotten 1937 Bertold Wolpe design called Pegasus. Wolfe was also the man behind the famous Albertus font that you see all over the City of London, on street signs. 

You can read more about the Balenciaga Typeface redesign here

http://blog.fatype.com/2015/02/balenciaga-custom-typeface/

With a link to some examples here

http://www.juliengallico.com/post/category/clients/balenciaga/

and Wallpaper has a great article about the Loewe Rebrand here

http://www.wallpaper.com/design/anatomy-of-a-rebrand-we-dissect-loewes-new-identity-designed-by-mm-paris

The Cavesson’s wordmark is based on an adaptation of the font Monotype Engravers. The weight has been adjusted slightly, but other than that, the charming, elegant proportions are those drawn by the original typeface designer. We thought it would be fun to dig into some of the history of the typeface, but little did we know what we would uncover.

There are a number of different versions of the typeface. According to one source, the font was designed in 1902, and released by the Monotype Foundry. It is credited only to the Monotype staff, not an individual designer. Another source credits Robert Wiebking as having designed a font called Engravers, in 1899. This predates the Monotype studio font version by a few years only. There are no differences in the fonts and the accreditation is most likely the result of licensing issues. There are a number of licensed versions available now, including Monotype Engravers and Engravers (URW++).

Engravers is an example of a Didone typeface (also referred to as Neoclassical and Modern) This genre of serif typeface  appeared in the middle of the 18th century in Europe. The most familiar and perhaps typical of these is Bodoni. Didones are still in use today, typically in fashion publishing (Vogue, Harpers, Elle) and in branding (Lanvin, Prada, Valentino). As Eye Magazine very succinctly notes "A casual glance through the lexicon of fashion brands confirms that this Didone aesthetic is shorthand for luxury, refinement and a certain prissy / posh attitude."

http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/through-thick-and-think-fashion-and-type

When selecting the font for the Cavesson’s mark, we were instinctively drawn to the all caps Engravers, and as soon as we had set the name it was clear that we had chosen well; the letters all fitting together, the rhythm of positive and negative providing the feel we were after.

 

  • Post author
    Mark Lightfoot

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