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Jean-Baptiste Levée, type designer

Jean-Baptiste Levée, type designer

This Friday we dig into the magazine collection of typeface designer Jean-Baptiste Levée, founder of the Production Type digital type design studio. Jean-Baptiste has designed over 100 typefaces, including work for French publications Libération, Vanity Fair and Sciences & Avenir. As well as seeing his type carefully placed on the pages of such newspapers and magazines, his work is also on display in the National Library of France.

We asked him to select three items from his collection: a new issue, and old issue and one other thing.

A new issue
My current favourite is Contra, whose first issue was published, only a few months ago. It explores the results of tensions and conflicts in both a strong and touching way. Editorially, this first issue focused mostly on migrants, refugees and asylum seekers from all over the word. The design rapidly follows the idea of being simultaneously solid and plain. Plus, it has a cool new typeface, what’s not to like?

An old issue
For me, this answer has a slightly personal response as it’s about someone who was to become a close friend. It’s Patrick Lallemand, in this 2007 issue of Ink. It falls somewhere between a magazine and a fanzine, but had a very short and liberated print run of just four issues. It aimed to give a voice to established designers who were juxtaposed against young punks such as Le Club des Chevreuils. Lallemand and his partner Pierre Delmas were editors, designers and publishers… good old times.

…and another thing
This issue of Trax shows a pretty cool use of the Cardinal typeface which was just released by us here at Production Type. Design studio Large used the typeface as early as 2015 which allowed our team to see it tested in print and make adjustments where they were needed. I love Cardinal as it embodies how type projects go through many pairs of hands at the foundry before being actually released into the public domain; this is a wonderfully artistic process.

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