The ANRT was created in 1985 by the Ministry of Culture, with the aim of providing fresh impetus to typographic creation and type design.
Originally the ANRT, which has been directed by the renowned Swiss typographer Peter Keller since 1990, was located within the Imprimerie Nationale. It then moved to the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (ENSAD). In the late 1990s, it took on its current name and became part of the Ecole nationale Supérieure d’Art in Nancy. The ANRT is a centre for experimental type design, and it offers specialised post-graduate training in the areas of typographic and character design. The training is intended for those with degrees from art schools in visual communication (master's or post-graduate level), as well as for designers, architects, professionals, visual artists, academics and even engineers and teachers with the equivalent level of studies. There is no age limit.
Students are asked to design the projects they want to work on, and/or to enter international competitions and calls for projects. Their research will be regularly supervised by highly-qualified typographers, graphic artists and type designers. The ANRT welcomes special guests and organises conferences; its student body is quite international. Courses are taught in both French and English.
The program will include an opening towards all typographic supports, practices and forms, whether still, animated, digital, paper-based, web design, television, cinema.
Over the years, the ANRT has acquired an international reputation, and has trained a series of renowned graphic artists.
Chaired by François Barré and under the leadership of Christian Debize, the ANRT's Steering Committee will chart the future course of the Atelier. This will include an opening towards all typographic supports, practices and forms, whether still, animated, digital, paper-based, web design, television, cinema, and applications in the areas of architecture and urban planning. It will position itself as a place of experimentation, invention and innovation, as well as a serving as a research centre for creative individuals working in the field. Its location in Nancy in eastern France, an area marked by the history of printing and publishing, and close to an arc, extending from Amsterdam to Basel and Zurich, that forms the epicentre of typographic research in Europe, bolsters the Atelier's openness to international influences and boosts its attractiveness to students and researchers from these regions.