An independent archive of typography.
to participate.

Topics

Formats

Typefaces

Céline 2008–18

Contributed by Andreas Kofler on Aug 26th, 2020. Artwork published in
January 2008
.
    Céline 2008–18 1
    Source: http://famira.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    From 2008 to 2018, fashion label Céline used a custom typeface named Céline for all typography. The typeface was commissioned by Studio Peter Miles, coinciding with the instalment of Phoebe Philo as their new creative director. Miles asked Hannes Famira to draw a type family based on Semplicità, designed by Alessandro Butti for Nebiolo in 1930. On his website, Famira writes:

    Following an initial conversation Peter sent me a number of scans of the original metal type specimens pages. While the resolution was great for the entire specimens page, when zoomed in to the individual character it turned out to be quite course for the intended purpose. But after some initial bellyaching I quickly realized how fortunate I was that there were no higher resolution scans available as this provided me with some considerable room for interpretation. After all, the translation from the original to the revival is where the fun lies.

    The Céline typeface comes in four weights with matching italics, plus a Medium Condensed style. As the weight contrast in Semplicità between Light and Bold was quite large, an intermediate Semibold was drawn, making the Medium the only interpolated style of the series. The Céline logo is based on the Medium, with a tad weight added and minor adjustments: see for example the capital N in the typeface, which is a bit wider than the same character in the logo.

    In January 2018 Hedi Slimane was appointed artistic and creative director of Céline. In the run-up of Slimane’s first collection, a rebrand was revealed that included a new logo with modified shapes, tighter spacing and the removal of the accent from the name. Rebrandings including minimal logotype redesigns are not rare in fashion. Slimane himself may have kicked off the current sans mania, with the change of the (Yves) Saint Laurent identity, a brand for which he was installed as creative director in 2012.

    Céline 2008–18 2
    Source: http://famira.com License: All Rights Reserved.
    Céline by Jürgen Teller, summer 2010.
    Source: https://art8amby.wordpress.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Céline by Jürgen Teller, summer 2010.

    Clothing label on an item from the fall 2011 collection.
    Source: https://www.1stdibs.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Clothing label on an item from the fall 2011 collection.

    Typefaces

    • Céline

    Formats

    Topics

    Designers/Agencies

    Artwork location

    1 Comment on “Céline 2008–18”

    1. Semplicità is a real high-style typeface. I was introduced to it through the great writing of Paul Shaw, who credits it straightforwardly to Butti. However, Colizzi and Olocco in their fascinating article on Nebiolo do not credit it to a single designer: they write that “It seems that Butti worked as draftsman on all of these projects” (Nebiolo’s type designs of the period), and for instance also note that painter and graphic artist Giulio da Milano was also an artistic consultant to Nebiolo in the period. I get the impression from their article that it might have been more of a corporate project than a personal conception, even if Butti was the final draughtsman. (They mention a 1959 obituary by Aldo Novarese of Butti, which I haven’t seen, which listed his type designs, but caution that they don’t find his writing entirely trustworthy.) The book World History of Design by Victor Margolin also seems very well-informed and also does not assign Semplicità to a specific designer. (I’ve also seen a lot of different dates for it. Colizzi and Olocco say 1928 and note that “accusations that Semplicità is a copy of Futura are probably incorrect…its date of release is too close to that of Futura. They come from the same background but they might have been designed independently”, but don’t cite a specific source. Margolin in contrast 1930 and just describes it as Nebiolo’s “own version of Futura”; I think he used archived specimens in France and Italy as sources.) Shaw has said 1930 or 1931. I’d certainly welcome information and contemporary sources, if anyone has them. (It’s depressing how often type history ends up like this.)

    Post a comment