Alice Savoie designs type in Frankfurt (Germany), teaches type design in Nancy and Amiens (France), completed a PhD on type history in Reading (UK), organized an exhibition in Reykjavik (Iceland) and in another life, she would have been a street cat in Istanbul (Turkey)! She collaborates with international designers and type foundries such as Monotype. With them or with her independent studio Frenchtype, she developed fonts that are already classics! Let’s start the questionnaire with an A and an Hi!

Romain20b_4_670

– Hi Alice!

Bonjour !

– Here we go for a lot of short questions!
Who are you?

Hi ! I’m Alice Savoie, I’m an independent French type designer. I spent the last 10 years studying and working in Paris and in various places in the UK, and I am now based in Frankfurt where I have set up my studio.

Ysobel_e4_670(Ysobel Display typeface)

– Nice to meet you!

Very nice to meet you too.

How are you?

So far, so good.

– Where do you work?

Most of the time I work from my studio in Frankfurt, in the Bahnhofsviertel area. Every other week I also travel back to Nancy and Amiens to teach type design to postgraduate students, which means that the train has also become a kind of secondary office.
Romain20b__670(Romain Vingt typeface)

– Your first meeting with typography?

When I was maybe 10 years old, I remember seeing my father drawing letters by hand on a big family tree that he produced as a present for my grandfather. He spent hours meticulously drawing the names of all members of the family with a very thin pencil. I encountered typography again a few years later as I started studying applied arts. One of our first exercises was to reproduce a sanserif alphabet by hand. It was rather tedious but obviously, it must have left its mark on me.

– The designer that inspires you most?

I couldn’t pick just one. I’m a great admirer of the work of Adrian Frutiger, partly because he had an amazing ability to constantly adapt to various technologies and reconsider his design processes, collaborate with engineers, other designers and type manufacturers. The way he led his entire career is exemplary to me.

– Your fetish creation tool?

At the moment I use a wonderful Kaweco pencil. And otherwise, my Wacom tablet and Robofont.

– Your favorite food?

Dark chocolate.

Capucine8_500(Capucine typeface in use)

– Your favorite font?

I don’t have one favorite font, it really depends on the context. I love using Maple, by Process type Foundry, for presentations and display purposes. I also use their Elena for text because it looks really good both on screen and in print. And then there are hundreds of other fonts I’d love to use but just haven’t had the opportunity yet.

 

– What’s in your Ipod?

A lot of very different things. Right now I’m listening to a mixtape by an excellent Frankfurt label called Analog Africa. Otherwise I usually listen to the radio when I draw type.

Capucine_b3_500(Capucine typeface)

– In an other life, you would have been…?

A speech therapist. Or maybe a street cat in Istanbul.

– Your motto?

I’m afraid I don’t have one.
Brill9_670(The Brill typeface)

– A letter?

I would pick the lowercase letter g, because you can draw it in so many different ways, there is no chance one could run out of ideas.

Bogartes6_670(Bogartes, typeface designed to celebrate the national event Graphisme en France 2014)

– Who/what is your reference in calligraphy?

I am left-handed and was never very successful at calligraphy, which means that I admire even more people who are. In chronological order I would say: Giovanni Francesco Cresci, Hermann Zapf, Brody Neuenschwander, Seb Lester.

– Who/what is your reference in typography?

Designers who successfully produce typefaces that are both very personal and versatile: people such as Cyrus Highsmith, Alejandro Lo Celso, Frantisek Storm, Kris Sowersby

– Who/what is your reference in graphic design?

Again I don’t have a specific list of references, only designers whose career I really admire: Paula Scher. Karel Martens, Paul Rand… The list could be rather long so I better stop there :)

– One of your favorite words?

Idiosyncrasies.

Fred_7_670(Fred Fredburger typeface)

– The 3 best typographical advices that someone gave you?

‘No discussion of typefaces is worth having independently of the typography that makes use of them’ (Gerry Leonidas)

‘Rejection or ignorance of the rich and varied history and traditions of typography are inexcusable; however, adherence to traditional concepts without regard to contemporary context is intellectually lazy and a threat to typography today’ (Jeffrey Keedy)

‘Don’t judge your designs on screen. Print, print, print’ (I’m not sure who gave me this advice but it certainly was an excellent one)

– Your 3 indispensable books?

• Richard Southall, Printer’s type in the Twentieth Century
• Michael Twyman, Printing 1770– 1970
• Osterer & Stamm, Adrian Frutiger – Typefaces, the complete works

– The 3 websites/blogs/wiki articles to absolutely visit?

• http://www.theguardian.com
https://www.typotheque.com/articles/essays/english
• http://ilovetypography.com/

– What are you working on right now?

A custom typeface for a new identity (unfortunately I cannot say more than this for now); my next typeface, called Bogartes, which I started last year as part of a commission from the Centre National des Arts Plastiques; and a chapter of a book on typeface design in the twentieth century, to be published next year.

Bogartes10_670(Bogartes typeface)

– Font you very much Alice! Have a nice day!

Merci, bonne journée à vous !

Discover more Alice’s work on Frenchtype and on her Twitter account!

Egra_b3_670(Egra-Tiflex typeface)