Designer Anatole Couteau's technical approach lets him communicate simply and precisely
- Ruby Boddington
- 20 April 2018
For Anatole Couteau, communication always manifests itself in the simplest and most precise forms. With a portfolio spanning graphic and type design, his work is satisfyingly direct, combining monochrome elements with a variety of custom typefaces in a precise and astute manner.
Originally from Paris, Anatole is currently working for Monotype in Berlin while also undertaking a DSAA in typographic design at École Estienne. Although clearly placing a precedence on typography within his practice, he explains how he tries to “practice type design as much as graphic design and coding.”
Whether working editorially or digitally, Anatole has developed a technically thorough approach that sees him fully immersed in every aspect of his work. “I try to go as far as I can in every project,” he tells It’s Nice That, “that means, for the [type] design part, I create full glyph-sets, well-designed forms etc and for the technical part, I try to produce and develop the typeface as much as I can by coding the OpenType, optimising the spacing and the kerning, hinting, checking the tables – lots of boring type stuff… sometimes I really sound like a type-nerd,” he jokes.
This technical approach forms the basis of the designer’s process, providing Anatole with a blueprint by which to create work. “For the graphic design, I try to always stick to particularly grid and simple forms and effects,” Anatole adds, “that’s kind of the ‘plan’ I try to follow in every project that I make.”
When designing his typeface Liszt, which is still a work in progress, Anatole took what started as a small project and allowed his technical brain to turn it into something much bigger. “Liszt is sort of inspired by the stone engraving found around [Franz] Lizst’s grave,” he explains. After developing a text version as a complete as possible, Anatole decided to expand the typeface to one “usable in every version,” but extended beyond the usual light to bold we are accustomed to.
“I’ve created an italic version of it and most recently the display roman version, I’m currently working on the Italic display and a monospaced version, but I’ll try to extend it as much as I can, maybe with a lining version or even a pixel or emoji version, who knows were it can lead to! And with all the new technologies that are emerging right now, why not create a variable-font version of it,” he concludes.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.