Vtg Stencil France No. 1
The Vtg Stencil fonts from astype are based on real stencils from various countries.
In the case of French stencils the challenge was special, because of the varieties of different widths and weights between the stencil sets — so I made France No. 1, No. 3 and No. 5.
There is no doubt that the classic French stencil letter design is based on a bold Didone style. Its roots go back to the early 19th century, when new, very bold Didone type styles were developed in Paris and London. This new style became enormously popular and was adopted by every skilled engraver and type foundry from 1830 onwards. Most of the French stencils were made by T & C, Paris (Thévenon et Cie, successor of Chevalier et Cie) founded in 1824.
The most unique and eye-catching elements of typical French stencils are numbers 1, 2, 3, 7 and especially 5. The figure 5 changes in style on smaller stencil sizes, its bobble getting replaced by something like a “breve”. The letters J and Q can also differ in style. Lowercase sets are rare, but they have been produced and still exist. There are even more variations in very old stencil sets and on custom-made stencil signs.
While the local stencil lettering styles are gradually disappearing in other countries, there are regions in France, such as Normandy and Brittany, where these stencils are still in use today. They are used for technical lettering, for which stencils were originally intended, but also for advertising and information signs in a more artistic or patriotic context. I suspect this has something to do with the seductive graphic qualities of the design itself - the rich contrast in the straight forms, the feminine curves that attract our eyes today as they did then.
French stencil lettering was used by artists such as Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso, who incorporated lettering into their Cubist paintings, and by the famous architect Le Corbusier. Over time, these stencil lettering became a globally recognised symbol of French design and taste.
Enjoy the grand dame of stencils — enjoy the vintage!