Pendragon is a display type family with 5 weights, ranging from regular to Extrabold and an italic version. It was created for the brand Melting Narratives. It is a young brand of silver jewelry produced in the Netherlands. The world of Tolkien very inspires its universe with a solid Celtic inspiration.
The designer Eloise Dieutegarde says of her work that she likes the passage from liquid to solid, from hot to cold, and the variation of her gender, sometimes masculine and feminine. These material changes inspired me in the conception of this type familly. The regular version is pretty stable but with a certain roundness and goes to something more brutal and sharper with the interpolation of an ultra-bold and super-extended version with sharp angles. The regular version is very stable and pretty adaptable for labor text.
I wanted to create a Celtic Typeface strongly taking references from the past but far from the cliché of Celtic font that we use for Irish bars and beers. The basic inspiration for the typeface is a printed page from William Morris but many other resources were useful in designing this typeface. I looked at a lot of uncial calligraphy to understand the design of my letters. Pendragon features a series of alternative characters and ligatures, typical from the medieval descendants of the Roman capitalis and uncials. Pendragon’s name was also an inspiration for a lot of alternates, particularly for the “g” which evoque a dragon’s tail.
The challenge was to bring back this Celtic universe while taking the essentials without overdoing it and remaining readable, accessible, and not too explicit. The letters are very round and I wanted to keep the contrast between the «straight» letters such as the n which have a smaller cast than the rounds. This contrast creates a certain rhythm and color to the text.
This was not the first time I designed a typeface. I graduated with a Master in Typography in 2021. But Type Paris allowed me to develop my eye even more and to understand some crucial rules about typeface design: balance of counter forms, going to the essentials in the design and designing a set of letters rather than isolated letters. Ian Party was instrumental in the design of Pendragon. He helped me to step back and better understand the challenges of creating letters «in the manner of». I was then able to get to the heart of the matter.
In the future, I will create a sans serif version of Pendragon and develop the alternate set which is very important in the identity of this typeface family. I would also like to adapt some glyphs and monograms to metal carving.
The 6-week type design programme that you’ve been waiting for starts on 6 June and ends 13 July 2023.
Our summer programme is in English and covers typeface design and calligraphy techniques, type history, and software practices. Every kind of design professional can learn about type design in a relatively short amount of time.