Kessler is the second release by Alaric Garnier at Production Type.
Pursuing the designer’s explorations in vernacular lettering, stonecarving and signpainting, Kessler is a first retail incursion into the realm of type not designed for the public space but instead for books. It may sound quite peculiar that Garnier’s tropisms hover around anything but printed text type, yet this specificity is exactly what nourishes Production Type’s variety of approaches, and what we deem a contemporary purveyor of type should seek: relevance, usefulness, and aesthetic agnosticism. Indeed, Garnier’s practice spans over many media besides print, and Kessler is no exception: signage was its first public use.

Kessler originated in 2013 as a late study by Garnier of Harry Kessler’s 1905 bespoke type, discovered in the Monotype Recorder*. In 1904, during his work in Weimar, Harry Kessler began to publish a group of bibliophilic books containing artistic compositions of typography and illustrations. In the beginning he cooperated with the German Insel Verlag. In 1913 he founded his own company, the Cranach Press, of which he became the director**. Harry Kessler initially commissioned an alphabet designed for his book’s covers.

For Garnier, what started as a caps-only alphabet was then further revised and expanded. First in two large sizes, Display and Super Display, they both stress a sharp and crisp serif look. In 2014, the international graphic design festival in Chaumont commissioned Garnier for signage, resulting in the addition of lowercases. The latter is probably where the Anglo-Saxon influences show most in Kessler. Only in 2016 did the italics appear while Garnier was working for the Kadist Foundation, and Kessler Text followed in late 2017, subsequently used in 2019 for the publisher Dilecta’s “Nouvelles Vagues, Œuvres d’art imprimé” compendium book.

Kessler’s Texts and Displays share a common spirit, but differ in structure. Mostly, it is Garnier’s common drawing hand that links them and gives the small system its consistency. As much as Kessler Text simultaneously recalls Eric Gill’s Joanna and Martin Majoor’s Scala Serif, it finds its own peculiar voice with this “slab-but-not-so-much”. Sturdy and clear at the same time: that’s the tension achieved by Garnier, who devised shapes that are both delicate and resilient. This also trialed Quentin Schmerber and Marion Sendral’s font development work, where the conscious consistency of discrepancies were a workflow challenge.

Strong artistic stances, design differentiations between the cuts, and a lack of weights implying resolute design choices by the user: a spectrum of reasons to place Kessler in our LAB section, until a hypothetical future expansion.

→ Buy Kessler from €70. Family of 6 styles from €199. 
→ Download the PDF specimen.

Design: Alaric Garnier.
Team: Quentin Schmerber, Marion Sendral, Hugues Gentile.
Pictures & AD by Avant Post.

* Monotype Recorder, Vol. 41, Nº3, London, 1958.
** Source: Wikipedia, Harry Kessler”, retrieved March 23rd, 2019.

Kessler
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Kessler

Kessler is a vivacious inscriptional serif typeface in 6 styles.
682
9,183
17
Published: