The legendary typographers were in the room

Not later than 2 days ago, I’ve got this discussion with Typofonderie’s team and shared the fact that many of reputable typographers speak a perfect french. Then, today, I found back this small homage about John Dreyfus in 2002 that I wrote for ATypI. Already more than ten years ago.

John Dreyfus, founding member & second president of ATypI

I know him by reputation from my early days of discovery of typography, as in my first year of graphic design courses, my calligraphy teacher share to us some extract of the Encyclopédie de la Chose Imprimée conducted by him and François Richaudeau. A couple of years after, I finally meet him, and I was charmed by his perfect French, with a nice English style, and his gentleman manners. From this moment, I always had the impression that all the legendary typographers were in the room when he was there and start to speak, very strange effect, but so nice and good.

Then, we started some correspondance time to time, and suddenly, when Gérard Blanchard died during the summer 1998, a couple of weeks before the ATypI Lyon, I contacted John Dreyfus to ask him to wrote on Gérard Blanchard life, naturally he answered to me positively. A couple of days later, I receive a very nice text from him and, more fascinating, a week after, he came to Paris to visit his daughter and take the opportunity to check the final proof of his contribution in the small book we’ve built Jacques André and myself. What a great honor to receive this legend in my humble flat of Malakoff (at the time), then, we’ve sit down under the kitchen-living room table and review in very simple manner the book and discuss about the forthcoming ATypI conference.

John Dreyfus was a key of the entente cordial between Great Britain and France typographers during several decades, his engagement was very constructive and help us, French, to understood better the value of our past. I will keep forever his voice tone and manners in my memory. Merci.

See more on the page about him on ATypI website.

+ Steven Heller post Type-Land Security

Jean François Porchez, 4 May 2012

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