Carole Gautier and Eugénie Favre – the founding designers behind Paris-based design studio My Name is Wendy – never plan to design a typeface when it’s not a commission. Instead, the process happens naturally and all by itself. Blackjack is the latest in its roster of typefaces, a design which started from one sole letter jotted down as a sketch for a client around a year ago.
Type design is just one facet of what Carole and Eugénie get up to at the studio. Brand identities, illustration, motion design and visual concepts are also part of its day to day activities. And in the past, the studio has worked with the likes of Adobe, Nike, Reebok, Adidas and Coca Cola across these mediums. But when it comes to typography, the duo say that, “Generally, our typefaces are created from a specific shape at a particular time.” So when the pair took a liking to that one letter, they decided to expand the letter into a whole alphabet, which is how the regular weight of Blackjack was born.
As a busy and bustling studio, My Name is Wendy had to place Blackjack's design on hold for a while before returning to the personal project earlier this year. In turn, “we wanted to create a formal response to this font, like a contrast,” explains Eugénie, which is how the Black version of the typeface came about – a more brutalist interpretation of the deconstructed letterforms which embody both a technological and vintage feel.
To round up the new family of fonts, the studio then drew a lighter weight, offering another distinct difference to the pack. Altogether, the three weights form a set to compliment the user’s various purposes. But unifying the Regular, Black and Light variations, is the distinct vertical line of the letterforms. With every new typeface My Name is Wendy takes on, Carole and Eugénie always try to design alphabets with unique shapes. “It is difficult,” says the former, “because there are lots of typefaces that exist.” It’s risky to balance this dedication to originality while creating something meaningful. In a few words, the studio tries to communicate a design which is “not too exotic, workable and original.”
As Blackjack is in uppercase, it’s likely to be used as a display font, but the designers also wanted to ensure it would usable for body copy too. Experimenting with the design in a colourful type specimen, the design studio showcase the diversity of Blackjack and its many alternate letters. Peppered with peculiarities, Blackjack is full of surprises and has incited a new interest in the studio which it hopes to further explore in the future; an investigation into typographic hybrids which uses glyphs like “transplants.” In other words expressing a modular design while preserving functionality at the same time.
Since the studio was founded back in 2006, its interests and creative expressions have evolved along with the coming and going of various trends. “We move quickly,” says Eugénie of the necessity of adapting along with the industry. “We better understand our needs to become more effective. The global health crisis makes us more pugnacious, stronger and lucid.” Determined to make the best out of a bad situation with the challenges this year has already presented, not to mention the hurdles to come, My Name is Wendy has tried to use whatever spare time comes its way by deepening knowledge in both the technical and theoretical sense.
With this in mind, the pair have been branching out into realms of 3D design and animation. Intrigued by spatial design as well as material and physical properties, the studio never ceases to learn or expand, even though it’s 15 years old and counting. There are always new opportunities for design, and My Name is Wendy certainly doesn’t wish to miss out on this, especially when it comes to typography.
GalleryMy Name is Wendy: Blackjack (Copyright © My Name is Wendy)
My Name is Wendy: Blackjack (Copyright © My Name is Wendy)
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.