What is fabulous with old typefaces specimens, is that the source seems inexhaustible. It brings us wonderful surprises around everytime. During the weekend organized by the Rencontres internationales de Lure, the Flea market Typo 2013, we acquired a few things, including these series of mini-specimens created at Deberny and Peignot at some unknown date. The non dating seems a common practice among French foundries, probably in order not to render obsolete the promotional materials created for typefaces. But the typefaces presented can give us an idea of the period of publication of these specimens, probably between 1930 and the early 50s:
Serie 18: circa 1890-1918, Ancien: circa 1890-1918, Nicolas Cochin: 1929, Europe (Futura by Deberny et Peignot): 1930, Peignot: 1937, Touraine (Peignot featuring lowercases): 1947.
Deberny et Peignot’s specimens folded.
Deberny et Peignot’s specimens unfolded, outside.
Deberny et Peignot’s specimens unfolded, inside.
Ingenious in its shape, consistency and variety, this serie of small specimens is rich. Due to its diversity, it immediately reminded us to the principles we are using at Typofonderie since the release of the specimen Costa in 2004. In fact, these Deberny and Peignot specimens help to highlight a family of typefaces. In particular, they provide an evocative atmosphere for potential uses of the typefaces. The folded size is relatively small, 11 × 14 cm, not far from the postcard size. Each specimen is printed in a specific range of colors. André Jammes, in its catalog Collection de spécimens de caractères 1517–2004 published by Éditions des cendres describes these specimens as small tracts published in-between new products launchs in order to boost the existing typeface collection. According to him, the layouts could be designed by Maximilien Vox or Cassandre.
Sometimes the specimen is spread over three horizontal pages, or at larger size not far from the A4 format, as appropriate. The inside usually offers a full alphabet,, some blocks of text, or a few large words when it comes to display typography. Of course contents are always fun to read today. Sometimes we can find widths comparisons with others Deberny et Peignot typefaces, handy for future users. In some cases, false layouts illustrate the main double page. These examples should feeding us with our contemporary needs of new typographic specimens. There are thousands of other ways to promote typeface, we are positive about it and be so glad to learn new things from the past.
Montaigne typeface: widths charts.
Ancien style typeface in situation.
Italiennes typefaces serie.