A typeface for the Lhéraud family’s Cognac brand, where all communication was used to be done by hand.
Since 1860, seven generations succeeded through the Lhéraud family developing the finest alcohols of the Cognac terroir. The house is led today by Guy Lhéraud with the help of his wife Andrée and their son Laurent. Andrée has started for more than forty years the amazing work of designing by hand the entirety of the labels and packagings of the house products.
Madame Lhéraud’s writing is unique. It doesn’t match any historic calligraphic model, not more than it tries to demonstrate any classical mastery or perfection. But it has a real visual force, a unique identity, a rare ability to occupy space and make the curves dance in unexpected arabesques. Each letter releases an intense vibratory force and never follows exactly the same path.
Nevertheless, faced with the multiplicity of communication needs, and in particular the growing importance of websites, Andrée Lhéraud’s artisanal approach found an insurmountable limit. To be deployed on the web, her writing had to be encoded and not just calligraphic. From there came the idea of creating a typographic version.
The challenge that was proposed to us was therefore to create a typographic twin of Madame Lhéraud’s cursive writing. That is to say, to transpose the vibration of her hand into the frozen form of typography. To reproduce the color of an unpredictable writing by the mechanism of typographic drawing. And this without any other artifice than the drawing, since we also decided not to include any opentype feature.
Madame Lhéraud’s writing is of course unique and there was no question of creating a typographical copy that “rivals” the manual original. I nevertheless think that we can consider the copy as a good traveling companion. A team member who can render useful services, whether on digital media or on any type of automated task. The unpredictability and adaptability of the human gesture will remain for a while the privilege and superiority of the human over the machine – even if it is called “intelligent”.