Hello Virgile! Please introduce yourself.
I’m an independent and Paris based art director and graphic designer graduated last year. Now I’m completing my studies by specializing in type design, while continuing to work on my own.
How, when and why did you start working in the type design field?
I started to focus on type design towards the end of my previous course. I felt the need to better choose the typeface I was using for my projects, but I also needed to create my own letters, or at least be able to customize existing ones, for logotypes of lettering stuff. I had calligraphy classes and that's one of the things that pushed me to go further in the process. There is a real synergy between graphic and type design. There is also something mystical about typing text with shapes drawn by yourself.
What did your first selfmade typeface look like?
I did my first typeface at the Love Letters workshop with Sebastian San Filippo. I named it Laeken. It is a bold humanist sans serif typeface with ink traps. I hope I could finish it someday, the more I get into type design and the more I find things to improve. I guess I’m not the only one struggling with this problem !
How do you approach designing Typefaces? Do you think a typeface needs an intellectual concept or is a formal concept sufficient?
I do not think there is a need for a particular concept. Except when the project is for a client. Every day, graphic designers use typefaces and appropriate their narratives, their shapes, for very different needs. From a personal point of view, I start a typeface when I need it for a project I'm working on, and for which I need a particular form. As a result, it often gives a display typeface. I’m searching for new forms, or I take parts of existing forms that have not, in my opinion, been explored.
Typography/Type Design is a pretty male dominated topic. How do you experience that?
First, there is a whole religious history linked to writing deprived of women (ancient Egypt, copyist monks…). After that, with craftsmanship, Gutemberg machines or 20th century compositing machines, jobs related to typography were manual and therefore reserved for men. I think these are outdated habits that dissipate over time. All of this is accelerating with the accessibility of IT and new softwares. Now, we do not need to go through school and companies sculpted by time and traditions to do this kind of job. I know more women than men studying type design. So I think it's something that would change in a short time.
Do you see a gender in your own designs?
Often, people reaching me think that I am a woman. It may be due to my unusual name, or maybe my work. You tell me !
Which song would you like to translate into a typeface? What would that look like?
Maybe not a song in particular. I would do something really experimental, almost an abstract typeface for Laurel Halo’s Dust album, or maybe Hesaitix from M.E.S.H.
How do you think new technologies like responsive or kinetic typefaces will change classic graphic design?
With my school, we had the chance to talk with Dan Rhatigan who works at Adobe Typekit. We talked about variable fonts. For him, the variables causes too many choices for the designers. This is too complex to allow easy typographic style sharing. So it won’t revolutionize the field. However, it is a great help to refine some settings, such as adding fat when on a black background for example. From a personal point of view I am very interested in these new technologies. I find it exciting, but I think that what we see is only a transition for a much more exciting phase.