Priez gets the lead out of lettering

Welcome to the ninth edition of Theoretical Thursdays this summer. For the previous article click here. This week takes a look at a French freelance type designer. 

Calligrapher and type designer Julien Priez lettered a series of compositions in 2011 based around the idea of The Boogy Paper. This followed his success the year before when he graduated with an excellence mention in Type Design. He earned the accolade from the École Estienne for his work on the Montreuil identity system.

As a freelance designer Priez has the flexibility to work on a variety of projects—even simultaneously. One such project is The Boogy Paper. He describes the series in French as, “Le Boogy paper est une expérience graphique quotidienne pour arrêter de fumer.” Priez designed this project as a series of posters aimed at stopping smoking. The calligraphic shapes make excellent forms to represent the smoke. The script has a vaporous quality that hangs with in the frame the way a cloud of smoke occupies a crowded room; many of the strokes have a translucence that further imitates the physical properties of mist.

Additionally, Priez’s choice of color palettes illustrate depth in his design decisions. The low saturations make for two distinctly effective color schemes. One scheme features completely desaturated compositions showing only black and white. The other adds muted pinks, greys and yellows to the mix. This color motif continues to reference the smoky setting Priez tries to dispel with the work. 

The patience Priez demonstrates in some of his videos shows his commitment to craft. Each letterform is carefully created, and later edited if necessary, before appearing on a poster or in a typeface. The smooth strokes allow for better translation into mass production in type creation software.

I admire Priez’s ability to manipulste only type and text to create his meaning. In my opinion he measures up to mentor Herb Lubalin, the famous contemporary French type designer. Priez also reminds me of American type based designers Paula Scher and Michael Beirut. Sifting through such inspiring typographic illustrations has inspired me to try out hand lettering despite its currently oversaturated, kitschy status in current design trends.

For more on Julien Priez click here.



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