Hermitage is a typeface that contains 5 different weights, regular, medium, semi-bold, bold and black. It also contains an italic version of its regular. The name of the typeface comes from the hotel of the same name in Monaco, which was built in 1830 by the architect Nicolas Marquet, with the help of Gustave Eiffel. The building was constructed during the Belle Époque period, and is still today, in my opinion, the most majestic of the principality’s hotels. The hotel is in the centre of the city in the Square Beaumarchais and overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. I wanted to transpose the romantic, refined and meticulous atmosphere that the hotel wants to convey into a typography. Typography that could then be used for all the hotel’s signage, its communication, its website, the various restaurant cards, in short, everything that could touch the hotel.
After the first week dedicated to learning calligraphy, ductus, tracing paper, lots of tracing paper. I’m starting to realise how much work is needed to have a typeface that is in line with the idea we have of it and that is obviously beautiful, that we like.
All this while respecting precise rules, you can’t leave a line to chance when it comes to type design.
Under Jean François’ advice, I continued the typography we had started at the beginning of TypeParis 2022, trying to bring the values I wanted to transmit. As the days went by, I was sanding my typography like a diamond being cut, adjusting curves, erasing angles, trying different serifs.
When I switched to Glyphs, I wasn’t quite satisfied with my tracing paper drawings. I was far from what I had imagined at the beginning, I was afraid of doing something that I didn’t like, that didn’t look like me. But if there’s one important thing about Type Paris 2022 it’s that you can’t get stuck, you can’t afford to waste time, you have to keep moving forward.
While working on Glyph I made a mistake. By looking for the clean curves as I imagined them, by rounding off the corners, I lost the personality of my typeface, it became flat, without personality, without my realising it. My mistake was to try to change what I did at first, I lost what made my typeface strong. The proverb “The best is the enemy of the good” took on its full meaning.
On July 1st, I decided to start again from the beginning, I spent the weekend working on all the letters to find this external angle, I simplified the serifs, I took back the curves. I finally have a complete set of caps and capitals as well as some punctuation marks and numbers that I’m happy with.
If there’s one thing I learned from this weekend, it’s to believe in yourself and your process, the initial idea you have will always be reflected in your project, one way or another, you shouldn’t try to make it stand out, it will come out by itself.
It’s interpolation week, once again, I have a very specific idea, I want to do a thin and high contrast display, but Jean François decides otherwise and tells me to do a black high contrast Sans Serif version. That’s fine.
In the end, I think I had the most rewarding 5 weeks from a typographic knowledge point of view, of course, but also in the work process, the methodology and the organisation. The quality of the speakers, the tutors, the visits make the intensity of this training take a back seat. It pushes you to surpass yourself and to give the best of yourself.
I’ll end by saying that I’m extremely proud of what I’ve created and of having participated in TypeParis2, I’ve had some great encounters, I’ve exchanged with some interesting people with whom we share one or more common passions. The thing I remember most would be to have confidence in your process, not to be blocked by your idea and to keep moving forward.
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.