Gérard Blanchard (1927-1998) had worked in many facets of type and graphic related industries, as a graphic designer, engraver, illustrator, writer and historian. His work brought him into touch with many well known designers including Roger Excoffon, Maximilien Vox and José Mendoza. As a writer and historian his work was internationally recognised and drew a wide audience. It is a great shame that his work is not more widely translated.
From the 1950s through to the 1970s Blanchard gained a reputation as an academic and a driving member of the French typographic association ‘Rencontres de Lure’. He worked at Fonderie Olive with Roger Excoffon, then Rochette-Cenpa and Club Méditterranée. He later worked with André Bran on engraving then at Editions Grasset and the phototype distributor Ere nouvelle.
Later in life Blanchard studied for a PhD and turned to teaching. He was instrumental in persuading the authorities to found the Atelier National de Création Typographique where there are a few places for type designers to learn their craft. He also lectured in cinema studies at the Sorbonne.
He was a popular and strong speaker at a great many lectures and conferences, and became president of ‘Rencontres Internationales de Lure’, a position he held until 1987. As a mark of recognition for his work for the organisation he was awarded the honour of ‘Chancelier’. For the celebration of his 70th birthday ‘Rencontre de Lure jubilee’ was held.
Most recently Blanchard had published a new book ‘Aides au choix de la typographie’ he was due to have spoken at the ATypI conference, Lyons, in October. Probably his last paper, ‘Lettres Françaises’, will be published at the conference.
The French type community has lost a dearly held member, who was an inspiration to all, a mentor to many.
by Jacques André & Jean François Porchez.