Reputations: Thomas Huot-Marchand
‘It is not a question of revisiting a typographic style, but of questioning the means of creating typefaces, of establishing a new formal logic by pushing certain parameters to their maximum.’ Interview by Véronique Marrier [EXTRACT]
Portrait by Nicolas Waltefaugle.
Thomas Huot-Marchand (b. 1977) graduated from the Institut Supérieur des Beaux-Arts de Besançon [ISBA] in 2001 and continued his postgraduate training at the ANRT (Atelier National de Recherche Typographique), where he designed Minuscule. He followed this with research on the epigraphic and calligraphic origins of fifteenth-century roman typefaces at the Académie de France à Rome. He published Minérale in 2017-18, then Garaje in 2020.
Huot-Marchand’s type design projects go hand in hand with his collaborations, notably with the agency Be-pôles (now Les Ateliers Saint-Lazare) and his custom work for them includes typefaces for the Park MGM hotel in Las Vegas and the Paris department store La Samaritaine, now open after sixteen years of restoration work. He is a tireless champion of type, whose workshops have helped to make many more French students aware of the field. His graphic design work has led to long-term collaborations with cultural institutions in eastern France …
Specimen for Samaritaine Sans (capitals only), 2021.
Samaritaine, custom type designed by Huot-Marchand for the legendary department store in Paris. He explains that the wordmark is a kind of synthesis signs that evoke a French Art Nouveau / Art Deco style for the sans, while the serif is a loose interpretation of the typographic genre l’Elzévir Français.
His insatiable curiosity and open-mindedness make him an important figure in the French graphics scene, evidenced by the presence of many of his designs in public collections. His typefaces are distributed by the Lyon-based foundry 205TF.
Véronique Marrier: How did you find out about typography?
Thomas Huot-Marchand: At art school in Besançon, where I studied, it immediately fascinated me. Looking back, I can see that I liked it even before – in the world of skateboarding and graffiti – but I had no idea what lay behind it. During my studies, I started teaching myself to draw typefaces. One of my teachers, Claude-Laurent François, used to talk humorously about ‘garage owners’ lettering’ to describe vernacular inscriptions, and I ended up making that the subject of my degree project. This was (already) Garaje …
Garaje Condensed Black, in a specimen that shows different widths with the same stroke weight. Garaje is a complete system, available in 44 widths and five weights, permitting users to compose in many sizes without changing the stem weight.
Véronique Marrier, head of graphic design, CNAP, Paris
Translated by Deborah Burnstone
Read the full version in Eye no. 102 vol. 26, 2021
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