When it comes to typefaces, people either do not put too much effort into them, or pick the one that they like and stick with it. Many people may not realize the intricacies of a font that can make or break a story or piece of writing. Even fewer people know the specific history behind any of the typefaces that they use on a daily basis.
That, however, does not mean that the histories and meaning behind these are any less fascinating. Faune is a new typeface family designed by Alice Savoie, and commissioned by the Centre National des Arts Plastiques in partnership with the Groupe Imprimerie Nationale.
This typeface has an intricate design and a wavy pattern that is supposed to bring out the design of wild animals, as well as the beauty of them. According to their website, cnap.graphismeenfrance.fr:
“Though natural history has had a strong influence on literature, poetry and painting, its impact on typography is still quite limited. Admittedly, the floral side of Art nouveau prompted a number of typefaces and ornaments such as those designed at the start of the twentieth century by Eugène Grasset and George Auriol for the G. Peignot & fils foundry” it states on their website. “Faune’s reason for being is to attempt to fulfil this mission of proposing another manner of designing and combining typefaces, based on an encyclopedic visual knowledge that is transmitted by book history.”
Faune is supposed to challenge the expected norms of typography and its evolution. It proposes an approach that is not only full of formal diversity, but also has crossovers from many other typefaces.
It is also inspired by two great historical works, Description de l’Égypte ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française and Histoire naturelle. Both of these historic French works showcase the biodiversity of different areas, and talk about biology and classification of animals in a more philosophical tone.
The main appeal of the font comes when it is italicized, which makes letters curve and almost become lifelike in appearance. How it changes from a typical looking typeface to a more lively version is the reason the center is referring to it as a “typographic chimera.”
The Faune type family has been designed dynamically: Move the sliders to experience weight variations between thin and black versions.
The site reiterates this perfectly by having two half illustrations by Marine Rivoal fit perfectly together, regardless of what animal is selected. Meaning that you can mix a bird with a snake, or porcupine with a frog, making a fun illustration to show what the font is meant to entail.
When it comes to fonts, many people may not think twice. However, as Faune shows, there is always great care and great work that goes into creating a typeface, and that level of care and organization should be respected and used.