Colophon Foundry, the type foundry with bases in London and Los Angeles, has just released a new catalogue presenting six of its recent bespoke projects. It’s the third time the foundry has published a newspaper catalogue like this and each time the Colophon team works with a new talented illustrator to bring their typefaces to life: Jay Cover did the first issue, while William Luz illustrated the second.
“We started doing these catalogues around a year and a half ago, and we’re always conscious that we want to keep them moving and do something new,” says Anthony Sheret, director of Colophon. “The illustrations re-contextualise the projects and also hint at an application of them in the real world. We want someone who is going to re-mix our work and bring a visual texture to them.”
This time, the Colophon team commissioned Leipzig-based illustrator Stefanie Leinhos to populate the 40-page newspaper. Anthony had previously seen her work and so invited her to collaborate. “I was a real fan of the narrative element of her work,” he says. “There’s a strong sense of her storyboarding, building a story in her illustrations, which we really wanted her to bring to this.”
For Stefanie, the brief was a fun and open one, allowing her lots of creative freedom. “My work is quite similar to the process of type-making – you test each character and you iterate. I liked that the Colophon team recognised that,” she says. “There was a good contrast between my work, which is more abstract, and the precision of the type work.”
To complement the typeface Colophon created for the supermarket Tesco, Stefanie decided to try something she rarely does: “A still life of vegetables and toilet paper! It was the most obvious one, I guess,” she explains. “I don’t do still life normally, so it felt new to me and I really liked it. I really like the contrast between the shadow and the light, which creates new forms. You can still pick out each object but they also merge into one.” And to sit in the catalogue alongside the typeface Colophon produced for an arts venue owned by Galeries Lafayette, she decided to focus on cogs. “That one took the longest,” she says. “The Colophon team wanted to focus on the architecture of Lafayette, because the floors and spaces can move and change a lot within the building. So eventually we decided to look at cogs, but in quite an abstract way.”
The final product that has emerged from this collaboration is a well-crafted showcase of Colophon’s work that, thanks to Stefanie’s illustrations, is more than a simple collection of marketing case studies. It’s actually something you want to pause with – and pore over.