The booklet initiation to graphics for the confined

30.04.20 TO

Le Signe invites you to do some of the games of the Livret d'initiation au graphisme

Sophie Cure and AurĂ©lien Farina, authors of this book invite you to do some of the activities (+ some new ones). 


The poster "Melancholia & Hysteria" designed by Maureen Mooren and Daniel van der Velden in 2006 was created by superposing and mingling different images. It works like a matrix that can reveal different layers depending on the zones that are coloured.


Hint: in order to find the odd one out, check out if the characters have serifs or not (these little extensions on the vertical and oblique lines of certain letters), compare the width of the paths, etc.

Like the members of a same family, the characters of a typeface have morphological resemblances, by which they can be identified. The Garamond, drawn by Claude Garamont in 1550 is a “humanist” typographic typeface, widely used in publishing (e.g. in pocket books).

Learn even more about this typeface by watching this episode of the webseries  “SacrĂ©s caractères” proposed by France-Culture Radio. (in French)



This letter belongs to the Sabon typeface. It was drawn in the 1960’s by Jan Tschichold upon request by a group of printers seeking a modernised and slightly “narrowed” version of the Garamond, in order to make some savings and lay out more text on the pages. For this constellation we used the exact anchor points* of the paths of the letter.

*Graphic designers mainly use vector drawing software. Digital typeface design relies on this principle: the shapes are not created by “frozen” pixels but rather by using geometrical information, according to which the design is entirely redrawn by the computer at each new display. Points, called anchor points or nodes are linked to each other to create paths and shapes. (Cf illustration in the downloadable document)



This letter belongs to the typeface Bodoni. Designed in 1798 in Parma, Italy by Giambattista Bodoni nicknamed “the printer of the kings” this classical character presents very contrasted vertical (thick) and horizontal (thin) strokes and narrow serifs. It is member of the Didone Family. With Didot and Baskerville, it was one of the first typefaces moving away from calligraphy.

Here is another episode of the webseries   "SacrĂ©s caractères" (in French)


This letter belongs to the typeface Fraktur. It is a character of the typographic family of the same name, which appeared in Germany at the time of the invention of the printing press (16th century). Nowadays, it is widely used by hard rock or even hip-hop groups.



This letter belongs to the typeface Banco. This font, generally used for headlines, was drawn by Roger Excoffon for the Olive Foundry in 1951 and is part of the Graphic typefaces. Its strokes imitate handwritten strokes. It is a very popular character widely used for storefronts.



This letter belongs to the Futura typeface. It was drawn between 1924 and 1927 by Paul Renner, who was close to the avant-garde movements. It is a modernist, functional character without serifs. Its line is purely geometric, designed for universal purposes.

And here is another episode of the webseries (in French)



Coats of arms can be considered as the ancestors of what we now call "visual identities". Applied to flags, shields, buildings, they make it possible to identify families, individuals, towns, institutions, etc. They are elaborated according to very precise rules (use of colours, shapes, patterns, etc.). The heraldry of Paris refers to the history of the town, the importance of river trade, the development of the French capital since Antiquity. That of Châteaurenard (literally: the Fox castle) is a good example of what is called a “speaking heraldry” that can be read like a rebus or a pun (on the name of a town, a family, etc.).


9-BY A + B

A monogram is a sign that combines several letters in a very free, almost ornamental manner. Monograms generally include the initials of the people, institutions or brands they are the emblem for. They are widely used for logos, namely for the major luxury brands like Coco Chanel, Louis Vuitton or Yves Saint-Laurent. These monograms are those of artists of the Viennese Secession, an artistic movement from the early 20th century. Somewhere between geometry and ornament, they were designed as a series, a common “brandmark”.

Le Signe would like to thank all those who have made it possible to propose this material on-line:

Daniel van der Velden and Maureen Mooren

Sophie Cure et Aurélien Farina, the authors

Chaumont design graphique, the publisher