I remember the first time I saw Julien. It was in 2010, on a poster from Tipoplakat. At the time I didn’t know that the strong graphics on the poster were from an upcoming typeface by Peter Biľak. I just enjoyed the poster.
In general, geometric typefaces can be really boring and many of them are so incredibly easy to produce with simple copy and paste techniques. So, neither their shapes or their handicraft can easily impress. But Julien is different and I think it’s due to his passion and a strong will to explore the possibility of creating something original – not merely producing a revival.
I love the way Peter pushed the concept to its limit and made something really new and playful. I dont know if I should call it “art” or “type”, and it’s almost ridiculous how many different shapes and variants this typeface has for each letter, but it’s ridiculous in a good way. I almost get the feeling that the whole process of making Julien was an experiment to see how far he could take the concept, and I’m impressed with how far it went.
Julien also takes advantage of one of the most exciting of OpenType features: contextual alternates. By using a pseudo-randomization script, different letters are combined to give the typeface a unique flow. I’ve never seen geometry have this much fun.
Göran Söderström is the founder of Letters from Sweden. He has designed custom typefaces for Acne Studios, C&A, Zeta, Posten Frimärken, ATG, ICA, SEB and others. His commercial typefaces are used by the likes of Red Bull, Apple, SVT, The New Republic, Pitchfork Music Festival, Helsingborgs Dagblad and Rodeo Magazine.