Sublimate graphic design with good typography, Anette Lenz

Anette Lenz is a graphic designer from Germany, based in France since several years. Working from a Paris-based studio, she travels often because she enjoys sharing her passion for design with students in many countries, such as HEAD School in Geneva. She has many remarkable collaborations & clients such as Hermès, Le Phare Centre chorégraphique du Havre, le Musée des Arts Décoratifs, le Ministère de la Culture, Radio France …Anette continues to collaborate with many people, such as Vincent Perrottet, they worked together for the communication of national theatres and scenes of Angoulême and other famous theatres like Filature, Nouveau Relax and the Auxerre theatre. You can tell she is passionate about what she does, her work is both simple and mind-blowing, but still incredibly effective.

Anette Lenz bookshelf on her studio
Phare program, designed by Anette Lenz
Anette Lenz bookshelf and Le Phare program double spread.

From your work, it is clear that you are really attracted to poster design. What do you like so much about working in both social and cultural fields?

Proportion, size, impact of the poster design in public space, here is what’s interesting to me. In a world constantly moving, a poster a poster “stops”, it creates a pause, a breath, it’s like a break from the world itself. Poster design may be like visual poetry, a way to share ideas helped by a quality of shapes and content, and especially an escape to all the visual pollution we are surrounded by everyday. The cultural field is where I can have this design freedom.

Theater program, design Anette Lenz
Posters on Anette Lenz studio
From left to right, Anette’s workstation under a poster for Le Phare, and a poster for the Transe Festival (for la Filature), Anette talking about printing specificities.

Why the choice of Anisette for program of the Musée des Arts décoratifs? And how did you discover this font?

For the new programme of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, I wanted it to be more than just a simple information booklet. Why couldn’t it be a platform to showcase typographic design? Now, each programme is designed with a font choosen for its design and its personality. At the end of the programme, there is a Point Typo where the designer and his creation are presented.

I discovered the Anisette while participating in the Club des Directeurs Artistiques. Later, Jean François Porchez offered me a specimen of this typeface family. Timing was perfect as I was searching for a new typeface for the programme.
Anisette is a very interesting typeface, and it is such a pleasure to work with a typeface family so nicely designed, so complete. Editorial design becomes fun and using Anisette allows the user a strong editorial originality.

Program for the Musée des arts décoratifs, set in Anisette, a Typofonderie typeface
Program for the Musée des arts décoratifs, set in Anisette, a Typofonderie typeface
Program for the Musée des arts décoratifs, set in Anisette, a Typofonderie typeface
Program for the Musée des arts décoratifs, set in Anisette, a Typofonderie typeface
Program for the Musée des arts décoratifs designed by Anette Lenz, set in Anisette, available at Typofonderie.

We talked about your keen interest in cultural projects. But what is your relationship with typography in general?

For sure I’m not a type designer, I could never design a typeface from scratch, and I have the greatest respect for those who do. To think about the movement of a letter, the form, the counterform, I know I do not have that kind of patience. For me, typography is an essential part of the global image I design. I use it often as a graphic element itself. At least, I think graphic design and typography is like cooking with good ingredients, all you needs is to sublimate them, in the simplest way.

As a matter of fact, when I started designing the programs for the Museum, I thought about this typographic approach. Since then, I met several type designers, foundries, discovered new typefaces, in order to present each time the foundry and the work they produce.

Anette Lenz studio
Anette Lenz studio.

What can you tell us about your participation in the Club des Directeurs Artistiques jury?

I saw some really interesting typographic works, and the level of creation was quite high if you ask me. I think that today, France is a place where the graphic expression is developing quickly, and people tend to experiment a lot, while still manage to say innovating. Unfortunately, this creative energy is altered by economic conditions and budgets (cultural institutions especially)

Phare program
In use, Eureka by Peter Bilak, for Le Phare program, the national choreographic center of Le Havre.

My last question is more of an anecdote. If you were a typeface, which would you be and why?

I would definitely say Eureka from type designer Peter Bilak. The name too, Eureka, I love what it means, what people think about when they pronounce this: “I found it, I have an idea!”. And obviously, I love its design.

Currently, I work with Eureka on my project with Phare, le Centre Chorégraphique National du Havre Haute-Normandie, and I used Eureka for an Hermès poster I designed before. But I was really uncomfortable with the capital M. I called Peter Bilak to talk to him about it, and then his response was “but why do you use Eureka, it’s one of my old typeface, it’s full of flaws, I have other better typefaces now”. To this, I replied that it was precisely what I like so much in Eureka. The same day, Peter finally surprised me with a new M. After all, I see a lot of myself in this typeface, it’s not perfect, but it has a lot of personality.

By Marion Chibrard, January 2015. All rights reserved.


Anette Lenz
Anette Lenz Facebook page
Anisette Petite
HEAD, Geneva
Vincent Perrottet
Musée des Arts Décoratifs
Club des Directeurs Artistiques