This book published by Éditions Textuel is a beautiful example of the diversity of weights and styles in the Cardinal family (Production Type). Focused on the infamous photographs taken by the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud, photographe is centered around an essay written by Hugues Fontaine about the poet’s photographic trip to Ethiopia. Each photograph is therefore an exploration and at the same time an interrogation of Rimbaud’s intents through his trip.
The design of the book was provided by Caroline Pauchant. Cardinal Classic, used for text, gives a light aspect to the page, and demonstrates its suitability for literary texts. The sharpness of Cardinal Fruit used for titles and quotations, in contrast, calls for attention and reminds of the simple boldness of Rimbaud’s poetry. The green color highlights the sandy tones of the sepia photographs, and at the same time brings some depth to the text with the use of two different colors.
Cardinal doesn’t follow any specific historical models (even though we see some influences of Garamond and Granjon), and is very much characterized by its digital nature. This makes it, in a sense, an ahistorical typeface design. The choice of this font for a book about Arthur Rimbaud is therefore a fitting one: As one of the most radical and mysterious poets of French modern literature, Rimbaud can’t be historicized.