Raphaël Garnier on why L’Incro’s typography smells like teen spirit
For many the weird teenage years are better left forgotten but that is not the case for French magazine L’Incroyable. This new publication is dedicated to adolescence and it will examine the teenage years of someone famous by visiting memories of that period when you are not an adult, nor a child. Edited by artist and designer, Clotilde Viannay, L’Incroyable hosts Juliette Gréco’s remembrances. For its debut issue the magazine traces young Gréco’s life between the ages of 15 to 20, when the actress and singer was imprisoned by the Gestapo at 16, when she met Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Boris Vian and when she spent time hanging out with Miles Davis at the Saint Germaine cafés. The magazine is bursting with stories and its typography is breathing a life of its own. Designed and art directed by Raphaël Garnier, an artist whose mind is ever expanding through shapes and forms, L’Incroyable letterforms are celebrating the excitement of adolescence in their own unique way.
So, what is the idea behind the typographic approach of L’Incr?
There are two different typefaces involved in the project. L’Incroyable, the title typeface and Bruggen for use in the texts. For the first one, my idea was to make a representation of the word and it’s meaning. L’Incroyable is the Amazing so I went for something that makes some noise. Like hearing the trumpets playing, like a glass that breaks into pieces. That’s why there is this element of broken curves in the in the design of the letters. I also wanted it to have a form of elegance. I love the vernacular typography and as an artist, not a typographer myself, I do not know how to draw letters so I simply observed. In my line of work I draw lots of shapes therefore I told myself that in this case, for this project, people have to read the forms. I’m not an expert, so I do not know all the rules and I have the privilege to not limit myself with any. I like everything that is naive, that holds a form of emotion that we do not find elsewhere, something poetic. I want to stay naive, I want to still be marveled.
As for the Bruggen, well that was a completely different project. I started working on the letters A, t, R, G as I was working on a logo for my graphic design studio At. R.G. (Atelier Raphaël Garnier). The outcome was really ugly but... I work directly on the computer, I do not do drawings, so I literally sculpt with vectors. Then I started to do all the glyphs. It was not at all a typography for the magazine. I wanted to make a typeface with a geometric base, which could be in accordance with the images I make. I wanted a typeface that could be an image itself. I wanted letterforms that were graphically strong enough. So to give this font an identity I chose to cut all the ends of letters to 90° as a rectangle. I do not know if this is understandable, but it is obvious on the R and A. This typeface is named after the inventor of Kapla: Tom van der Bruggen. The Bruggen has a childish element to it, it’s like a teenager, this is why the director of L’Incroyable, Clotilde Viannay, pushed me to develop this kind of typeface for the magazine. Because the magazine speaks about adolescence of a guest.
How long have you been working on it?
For the Bruggen almost one year, and it is not finished yet. For L’Incroyable a couple of weeks.
If you were a typographic symbol which one would you be and why?
A dot, for ……………………….
Which is your most favorite magazine at the moment?
Right now, I really like the high quality work done on the PIN-UP magazine. It is daring and unexpected, it’s fun and all made with great formal mastery.