Altesse is a typographic adaptation of the scripts engraved by the French copperplate masters from the 19th and 20th centuries.
Background : The drawings are directly influenced by French copperplate engravings in use over the centuries. The idea was to identify a style based on daily practices and not the search for the work of a writing master from a given period. Since the beginning of the 19th century, the use of formal script became the standard for the announcements copperplate of the French aristocracy. Foundries tried to adapt typographically copperplate scripts: each letter must be engraved separately but linked to the next. A complex operation, because the formal script is naturally slanted while the punches and metal type shot are perpendicular, which leaves no room to draw the shapes and their connections as well as the flourished endings. It was necessary to wait for photocomposition, which foreshadows the transition to digital typography, to be completely freed from the metal type. Photocomposition does not yet provide the many necessary variants and the technology for contextualizing letters. This is where we put our efforts, to make the use of the Altesse variations as smooth as possible by automating as much as possible.
Technical details:Altesse offers optical sizes with different x-heights. The 96 pt version is drawn with a small x-height featuring a high contrast while on the other side of the spectrum, the 16 pt version offers a large x-height in low contrast. Of course, the proposed sizes ar compatible, i.e. the thinner part is unified over the different sizes. This is a principle of proportionality: it’s up to you to set the 96 pt version in 120 pt, or the 46 pt version in 64 pt depending on your art direction, your constraints related to analog or digital medium. The variations, the combinations in Altesse are infinite or almost, with 5 to 6 variations of lower case per glyph, 2 to 3 variations of capitals, all adapted to different contexts, the challenge was daily! The six series of Altesse represent: 1957 glyphs, 47101 points build in Béziers, 363 673 kerning pairs. In addition 7 scripts in Python for a total of 745 lines. An export from one of the fonts in TTX represents 6 691 256 lines of code. OpenType tables represent 1066 lines of code divided into 38 OpenType features, 70 lookups, 233 classes.