It looked at me. All round. His face wouldn’t leave me. Again today, I asked myself why. And how? I recall the first time we met. It was in 1994, towards the end of the year. Jean-François Porchez had come, carefully bringing his typeface to Le Monde. In great secrecy, Jean-François Fogel & Nathalie Baylaucq, who were busily cooking up our new systems, considered this face damned seriously.
There was no question of kidding around with a new typeface for Le Monde! Within the dreadfully austere ojces of the daily newspaper, everyone was conscious that there was an urgent need to change the type. It was a matter of survival. We had to catch the eyes of a large number of our readers, bringing them back from the wreck they saw. We had to clean up the face. To tidy up the look. To give fresh life to the retina. To flatter the pupil.
It had to look new, big & beautiful. Would the Le Monde typeface that was so shyly brought to us fit the bill? We got it back on its feet, weighed it up, put it under a microscope, examined like mad its stems and strokes. We wanted to be uncompromising.
We were. We wanted the most beautiful, the most efective, the clearest yet most invisible of typefaces. And we got it!
One fine day, the decision was made. The Le Monde Journal typeface was given unanimous approval. It was judged to be versatile & svelte, slender and solid.
We were in control; we looked at it with liking & respect. We bowed before its unassuming genius: while it was as light and lean as its predecessor, it seemed wider & more rugged. In a word, reassuring. Comfortable. Well spaced.
By Laurent Greilsamer, associate to the editor in chief of the Le Monde newspaper.
Published by Porchez Typofonderie initially as part of the Le Monde type specimen, in September 1997.