Vtg Stencil France No. 1
The Vtg Stencil fonts from astype are based on real world stencils from several 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 from 1830 on every skilled engraver and type foundry adopted it.
The most unique and eye-catching elements of typical French stencils are the figures 1, 2, 3, 7 and a specially 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 differ in style too. Lowercase letter sets are rare finds but were produced and still exist. In very old stencils sets and on custom stencil signs you will find even more varieties.
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, which is what stencils were originally intended for, but also for ads and information signs in a more artistic or patriotic context. I imagine this has something to do with the alluring graphic qualities of the design itself – the rich contrast in the straight shapes, the feminine curves attracting our eyes today like in the past.
French stencil letters were used by artists like Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso who integrated lettering in paintings from their cubist period, and by the famous architect Le Corbusier. Over the time, these stencil letters became a globally recognized landmark of French design and French taste.
Enjoy the Grand Madame of Stencil Lettering — enjoy the vintage!