Guidebook series originally published by Éditions du Seuill in their Collections Microcosme, France 1954–1970, initially directed by Chris Marker (1921–2012) and later by Juliette Caputo. Each edition is devoted to one country and includes trave information and photographs.
The names of the destinations are set in caps from Pharaon, a slab serif (or Egyptienne) issued by French foundry Deberny & Peignot in 1933. The typeface came in three weights plus an all-caps style decorated with lines, named Pharaon Blanc. Some covers like the one for Grande-Bretagne appear to show a condensed variant, which isn’t listed in a mid-century specimen, and might be generated photographically. The “Petite Planète” series title is shown in caps from what appears to be Simplex. This was Fonderie Olive’s name for Berthold-Grotesk. Note that its design is quite different across the sizes. Several of the volumes were reissued with new cover designs, compare e.g. Suisse and Tunisie in the first and second images.
The collection is notable for its photographic contributions from Marker’s colleagues such as Agnes Varda, William Klein and Cartier Bresson, as well as Robert Capa and Brassai; alongside imagery from his own travels and personal archives. The series is playful in its style frequently employing poems, song lyrics, cartoons and a colourful illustrated fold-out map on the back end papers. Marker’s aspiration was to avoid the propaganda familiar to the guidebook genre, imagining a certain intimacy in tone: “Not a guidebook, not a history book, not a propaganda brochure, not a traveller’s impressions, but instead equivalent to the conversation we would like to have with someone intelligent and well versed in the country that interests us”.