Here: Expressive Shapes → The stories behind the typefaces reveal a lot about how Julien Mercier combines historical references and technological research. For the art residency programme La Becque, Mercier designed the grotesque humanist variable font Alphabecque, based on a font by IBM for photocomposition machines and characterised by a specific ’80s warmth. Oar, designed in 2015 for the Oxford Artistic & Practice Based Research Platform, is optimised for online publishing. The typeface is based on the ‘Doves Press’ font which had been lost in the Thames for a century before divers brought it back to the surface in 2014. New Century is the result of another research, commissioned by Ard Studio for their redesign of the Tate Gallery magazine Tate Etc.. Inheriting the classical curves and endings, the new typeface surprises with its unexpected proportions and spacing.
There → The type designer has worked with Maximage, Berlin, Studio Laurenz Brunner and type designer Aurèle Sack. He collaborated with the type foundry Lineto, in Zurich, and later with Optimo in Geneva. Since 2012 he has been an independent type designer for clients such as the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, Offprint in Paris and London, Plateforme10 in Lausanne, the Red Cross Museum and Mamco, both in Geneva. Mercier obtained his Master in Computational Arts from Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2018, where he is currently a visiting tutor seeking to develop new typographic tools in the field of variable fonts. Since 2017 Mercier has also been art director of the design magazine RADDAR, published by the design museum MUDAC, Lausanne, for which he designed the font family Raddar Sans, based on research at the St Bride Library in London where he found original drawings by Jan Tschichold.
Everywhere → Working at the cutting edge of type design, Julien Mercier has over the years established a fragile balance between commission and research work. Deeply committed, he offers a highly personalised service, taking the time required for his clients to understand the benefit of bespoke typefaces. It is important for Mercier to take care of the specific temporality of type design and to find a balance to protect it from restlessness. This is why he thinks it is important for fully worked-out typefaces to be in a further step mastered and published on distribution platforms, so they can generate income while offering quality products to a large audience.
Julien Mercier → (*1988), Based in Paris/London, www.julienmercier.in
Education → MA in Computational Arts, Goldsmiths, University of London; BA in Graphic Design, ECAL, Lausanne
Project(s) → Project: Expressive Shapes, 2013-2019