Typography at the École Supérieure d'Art et de Design, Le Havre (ESADHaR)

The graphic design and typography programme

Developing a typographic culture is introduced in the second year, and is one of the major teaching goals of the first cycle. Special emphasis is placed on teaching typographic uses and layout, illustrated with historical references. In recent years, incoming graphic design students have developed a real passion for type creation, and they easily become involved in this creative field. Although the rigorous, functional approach needed for designing typefaces for body text is still the domain of typographers, students can learn about the creation of letters and characters for titles, while becoming aware of the concepts and fundamental issues of micro-typography. Starting in the first year, students are introduced to typography as part of the introductory graphic design course. The teaching continues in the second and third years as it covers the fundamentals of micro- and macro-typography. In the second cycle, students work on an individual project: they must do documentary research, it documents, reflect on practices, and develop the intellectual tools required for the creative effort that will earn them a diploma at the end of their studies. Typography is well represented at ESADHaR.

New approaches and exciting experiences creating characters: writing exercises based on the morphological structure of the letter, the vernacular of Le Havre: creation of an alphabet, Oulipian constrained writing in the form of posters.

Typographic research at ESADHaR. The expanding role of "A Graphic Season"

Current research at the school is based around "A Graphic Season," an event started by the school and two partners: La Bibliothèque Universitaire, et une galerie d’art contemporain, Le Portique. a scientific documentation centre, and Le Portique, a contemporary art gallery. The goal of the event is to highlight contemporary graphic work that is little seen in the region through a variety of means, including exhibitions, colloquia, encounters, concerts and performances. Since 2010, a series of teaching initiatives have accompanied "A Graphic Season": discussions and creative workshops with major figures from the world of typography (Malou Verlomme, Jack Usine); the launch of a research group that includes ESADHaR instructors and the two founding partners of "Season"; and the involvement of students in discussion of how to position the event.


In addition to classes and workshops, a new element was added in 2011-2012: thematic creative workshops. An example of this is Un enjeu typographique Oulipien dans la ville de Raymond Queneau, led by Oulipo member Olivier Salon, Brigitte Monnier and Julien Gineste. The idea is to whose challenge was to find potential correspondences between constrained writing techniques and the constraint of screen printing in only two colours, between the written idea and its typographic expression on a city-wide scale.