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Matthieu Cortat created Basetica for the studio GVA (Geneva), in the context of the Open Switzerland project, on the occasion of its attachment to the Base group, bringing together 3 agencies in Europe (Brussels) and America (New York). GVA wished to show its attachment to “Swiss Graphic Design” and what it carries in terms of quality, precision and rigour, while at the same time presenting a Switzerland quite different to the usual stereotypes that one can imagine.
Basetica is then, a "contemporary Helvetica", open and with no frills. Raw at times, but always clean and discreet, it revisits the International Swiss Style” with a certain irony.
Plaax (with an x) is an extension of the typeface Plaak (with a k) completed with lowercase letters. Plaax is a large family of 20 cuts.
This typeface takes its inspiration from the characters that one can find on the nameplates of French streets. For a long time, Damien Gautier has been interested in these letters that everyone sees on a daily basis without really knowing them. No one seems to pay them any attention and yet they reveal themselves to be particularly interesting due to their great diversity. Though we can imagine that it is always a question of the same typeface, a closer study shows that a number of alphabets co-exist. One common point: elementary, robust forms, that seem more to have been traced than drawn by a few industrial draughtsmen, eager to be able to compose names of streets, avenues and boulevards in the restricted space of a standardised enamelled plate (well almost, this is France after all!)
It is definitely not a question of smoothing out and unifying all of the drawings finishing with a slick and homogenous typeface! On the contrary, Damien Gautier wants these typefaces to conserve the disparity of the typographic forms that have been noted.
In an apparent logic of organisation and of design that somewhat amusedly reminds us of the method used by Adrian Frutiger for the Univers typeface, the different series of the Plaax conserve the independent designs in a certain number of details (accents, the specific forms of a few letters: f, g, j, k, r, t, y, etc.)
This typeface is composed of 20 styles that display the typographic wealth of this source of inspiration. “Plaax 1 – Sathonay”: very narrow characters; “Plaax 2 – Griffon” and “Plaax 3 – Pradel”: narrow characters; “Plaax 4 – Terme” and “Plaax 5 – Foch”: wide characters; “Plaax 6 – Ney”: extra-wide characters.
Each series (from 1 to 6) contains a number of weights. By activating the “Ligatures” function, a particular series of ligatures refer to the origin of this typeface…
Thanks to its many variants and its design that is rid of any outdated pastiche, this typeface reveals itself to have a large range of possible uses: press, publishing, signage, visual identity.
Salmanazar is a typeface which has its roots in nineteenth century French type design, and in particular, the specimen of Antique Warnery no.1, published in 1922. Originally intended to be used for the composition of titles (the smallest body size being 20pt), its undecided yet vigorous strokes have been updated for contemporary use, while retaining its typically strong details from the belle-époque typefaces. Indeed, Salmanazar has a distinctly crafted look, with its own unique characteristics such as its vertical proportions, and its increasingly unusual contrast in the grotesque landscape. Its asymmetrical counters, and slightly heavy weights impose a certain darkness and a particular flavor in continuous reading, bringing to mind American Gothics, such as Franklin Gothic or the German humanistic sans serif Ludwig. Industrial in style, this typeface features a range of 4 weights, along with their corresponding italics. Each weight reveals a subtly different behavior, and this makes it suitable for different purposes.