Jean-François Porchez, The Famous Stranger

13 Feb

It is virtually impossible for Jean-François Porchez, to walk across Paris without seeing signs of his work. In fact, anyone walking through Paris sees his work, the only difference is that the general public walks the city oblivious to the signs that guide them. They read the content but seldom notice the form.

Jean-François Porchez, a type font designer, is the creator of the Parisine, the font used in all the Parisian public transportation. Whether travelling underground, or above ground, the Parisine surrounds the people of Paris. Porchez says, ¨It is a challenge to cross Paris without seeing the Parisine. But at the same time, it is fun to ride the bus, next to the driver and the passengers and to think that these people do not even know that we have created the environment that surrounds them daily.¨

Such is the life of Porchez who has gained wild recognition among his peers for his work (he won the prestigious Prix Charles Peignot). Porchez boasts an impressive list of clients including Air France, Le Monde, La Poste, Yves Saint Laurent and many others.

He sees his work as being inscribed with a long term vision. ¨Helvetica is one of the most fashionable fonts today. It was created in the 50’s and seems incredibly fresh. Typography ages like good wine… Good fonts last forever. They become part of the culture of a place, a country, a particular industry. The criterion of perfection, of beauty almost falls in the background: the font takes shape with what it has been made for.¨

This week, he is in Seattle working with the students from the University of Washington on a design project to create new fonts based on a collection of photographs taken by the students in the Seattle area, representing a variety of signs. After posting and selecting the images on Flickr, they will create brand new alphabets based on the vernacular typography.

He will also gives a lecture, free and open to the public, on February 16.

Hurry up, seats are filling fast!

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Posted by on February 13, 2012 in Arts


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