Apolline renaissance


Apolline is my second typeface, started in 1989-91, finished in 1993 for the Morisawa awards in Regular and Italic. During this period and particularly for this project I made drawings modelled after my own calligraphy. They were done at a very small size on tracing paper (2 cm high for the capitals) to preserve the irregularity of human handwriting. Besides emphasising the horizontal parts of the letter forms, the serifs were designed asymmetrically to reinforce the rhythm of the writing. The final drawings were produced at a large size (10 cm high for the capitals) to allow for subtle optimisation of specific details. To achieve certain regularity, a template was designed.


In 1995, Apolline was expended to 3 weights + italic companions. At the time, fonts designed in Type 1 supported only 250 glyphes maximum. So, various additional fonts have been designed to support Old Style Figures, Alternates, Small Caps, Finales, Ornaments. This typeface family was finished for publication by AgfaType, under the new label at the time, The Creative Alliance managed by Allan Haley. As Apolline was created with Ikarus back in 1993, the 1995 expansion in Bézier through Fontographer wasn’t perfect at outline level conversion. Some details never reached the right level, simply because of my skills ate the time and low resolution and small screens.


Text about Apolline in a Creative Alliance booklet, probably by Allan Haley:

Apolline is not based on any particular model. The design was conceived as a type with a blend of written and sculptural forms, slightly condensed, with large x-height. Apolline is a conservative, applicable to continuous text, but which also has the personality and verve to be useful in variety of display applications.


Later, Apolline was adapted to OpenType, for the Typofonderie Std collection. But a real update for a renaissance was a duty. With OpenType, and various features, suddenly the 1995 alternates, finales can be used easily on any texts. So the glyph set was expended for good language support and alternates expended to various others glyphs. Small caps added to all weights.


The Apolline renaissance was started during summer 2010, interns worked on it without real success (at least they learnt something about the process) and in December 2010—January 2011, Mathieu Réguer and myself pushed to the extreme limits our worked hours, exchanging a lot the redesign of each glyphs for perfect rendering in Bézier. So everything was redraw, to let us to extended the weights, alternates, etc. Now two intermediate weights are included. The Book weight will help users to balance various text sizes on the same page.

More information:

Typofonderie font page: Apolline Pro.
Dribbble set: Apolline Pro.
Flickr set: Apolline Pro.

Jean François Porchez, 19 May 2011

typographie, design, typofonderie, , , , , , , , ,