Video Announcement For Bureau Des Affaires Typographiques

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News | Yves Peters | April 16, 2010

Video plays an increasingly important role in the type industry. Besides documentaries like Helvetica, TypeFace, and the upcoming Making Faces: Metal Type in the 21st Century; and video interviews like our FontCast series; some new typefaces have been announced with actual trailers, and now even type designers promote themselves with videos. Last fall Typejockeys created the spoof Typejockeys Intro Season 1, as if they were featuring in a television series. And now BAT – Bureau des Affaires Typographiques have upped the ante with a fun, professional looking video announcing their impending launch.
Second paragraph updated with a rectification.

In its press release the Bureau des Affaires Typographiques boasts to be the first French type design and distribution company since the 1980s. This can be contended though. Although many French type designers active on the online market are solo operations – like for example Porchez Typofonderie by the award-winning designer and Honorary President of ATypI Jean François Porchez, or Thierry Puyfoulhoux’s Présence Typo – there is another example of such a type design collective. Shortly after publishing this post I received an e-mail from a distraught Jonathan Perez. He states that the BAT press release is misrepresenting the French typographic scene.

Since 2008 I have dedicated my life, my work, and my nights to the development of the French type foundry We have won Certificates of Excellence in Type Design in the TDC2 competition for two consecutive years; in 2009 with Copte Scripte, and in 2010 with Joos. It is hurtful to read this when I exert myself promoting the work of the type designers whom I distribute (and who I will distribute in the months and years to come) and with whom I collaborate, notably Laurent Bourcellier.

And now BAT joins the ranks of similar foundries that are also type design collectives, like the aforementioned Typejockeys, Underware, Typetogether, Bold Monday, Fontpartners, B&P Type Foundry, Sudtipos, and so on …

BAT – Le back office from BAT Foundry on Vimeo.

The production value of this video is quite high. Surprisingly it makes use of professional actors; the type designers don’t even have a cameo. While the Typejockeys spoof trailer below is merely charming, this one actually has something to say. The story is a little nonsensical and makes fun of French stereotypes, yet all this silliness serves a purpose. The video gets a across a few important points by cleverly coating them with humour. If they had conveyed the message with a straight face it probably would have been perceived as arrogant, because the makers make some tall promises without anything to back up their claims. So, very effective communication strategy. For comparison, below is the Typejockeys Intro Season 1, obviously inspired by television series like Friends. Great fun, and plain lovely.

The Bureau des Affaires Typographiques aims to foster innovative and quality French type design. Based in Paris, it is run by four freelance designers, all but one École Estienne alumni – Bruno Bernard, Stéphane Buellet, Jean-Baptiste Levée, and Patrick Paleta. They banded together and started working in secrecy in 2009.

  • After graphic and type designer Bruno Bernard graduated from École Estienne in 1998, he started his career in cultural communication. In 2005 he returned to type design during a residency at ANRT. Since then he designs typefaces both personal and commissioned, such as Achemine in 2006 for SNCF, the French national railway company.
  • Graduated from École la Martinière-Diderot in Lyon, graphic designer and programmer Stéphane Buellet joined atelier Chevalvert in 2007. Having a keen interest in open and multidisciplinary design, he co-founded Objetgraphik in 2008 where he developed the Paul Hoc drawing machine, amongst others.
  • Type designer and ATypI country delegate for France Jean-Baptiste Levée studied type design at École Estienne. He has developed typefaces for international brands and publications, and for major type foundries. Furthermore he gives workshops and lectures, and teaches at Académie Charpentier and at Corte university in Corsica.
  • Upon graduating from École Estienne, graphic and type designer Patrick Paleta founded the graphic design studio Chevalvert where he collaborates with Stéphane Buellet. This professor of typography is also a board member of Rencontres internationales de Lure.

BAT will promote their own typefaces, along with creations by other French type designers (or designers whose works bears a certain French spirit). This collaborative project wishes to use its synergy to counter the recent trend of type designers scattering and isolating themselves in one-person businesses. Its ambition is to the gather the finest in French type design, whether it is by new talent or confirmed artists. Indeed, since the 1990s France is experiencing a renewal in type design. The past thirty years foundries have ceased their activities, amongst them Deberny & Peignot (1974), Fonderie Olive (1976), Hollenstein or TypoGabor (1989). Since their demise not one collective structure has stepped up to promote the identity of French type design on the international scene.

FontList: Classic faces from Fonderie Olive
FontList: Classic faces from Deberny & Peignot

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  1. This article is obviously wrong. The last collective French foundry was created in January 2008, and is quite well-known as it has won the New York TDC2 in 2009 and 2010. Its name is
    It is a collective French type foundry, which distributes the work of French type designers, and will continue to do so for many years, on both the national and the international scene.

    Posted by Jonathan Perez on Apr. 16, 2010
  2. Well, it seems there has been a slight misreading around here. What we are boastingly stating in our press release is that we are “the first French type design and distribution company on the internet”. In this statement, each single word is important. We absolutely do not claim that we are the first French collaborative type foundry on the internet, far from that. Just that we are an officially registered LLC company which, to my knowledge, no other collaborative or single-person foundry is, including our esteemed colleagues from We are sincerely sorry and saddened to read that people’s feelings were hurt, but there is actually no reason to.

    Posted by Jean-Baptiste Levee on Apr. 18, 2010

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