Ellipsae is a typographic family of 6 weights, ranging from light to extrabold, plus an italic version. It was created as part of the scenography for the ”Scientific Poetry” exhibition at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris, which showcases the originality of this literary movement, which had fallen into disuse and abolished the boundaries between literature and science. Indeed, Pierre de Ronsard, Jean de la Fontaine and Victor Hugo praised science in their poems, celebrating the latest medical innovations, mathematical revolutions, astronomy and new energy sources.
The aim is to create a structured typeface, with a geometric base, but one that also reflects the lightness and sensitivity of poetry. To achieve this, the skeleton of my letters is based on Romain du Roi, a typeface developed at the end of the 17th century and commissioned by King Louis XIV. Dino Dos Santos told me during his visit that Louis XIV was so afraid of being betrayed that he kept his court at the Château de Versailles and had this typeface made to ensure the authenticity of official documents and protect himself from swindlers.
The Romain du Roi is distinguished by its proportion, regularity and rigidity. Ideal for representing science. I therefore retained the proportions and shape of the serifs. I’ve also reduced the contrast to get closer to a character of labor.
For the poetic aspect, I wanted to exploit the characteristics of italics to add flexibility and dynamism. That’s why the curves of the round letters are very fast.
The earlier versions of Ellipsae included an angle in the round shapes, to recall the calligraphic origins of the typeface, but this was eventually removed. I’ve also taken the liberty of including details that soften the character, like the slash in the e or the dancing leg in the R.
I was keen to develop an italic version with alternates so that I could use them in pretty poems. In the future, I’d like to develop a condensed version of the typeface.
I’d like to thank the TypeParis team for this most enriching experience and of course my classmates with whom I spent 6 wonderful weeks! Thank you all.
The 6-week type design programme that you’ve been waiting for starts on 4 June and ends 12 July 2024.