Typeface Review

MVB Sacre Bleu

Reviewed by Joshua Lurie-Terrell on March 5, 2008

While MVB Fonts has long been known as a producer of some of the most articulate and stylish informal scripts out there, up until now all of them have been designed by folks other than principal Mark van Bronkhorst.

Building on a rich foundation (Gayle Sato’s excellent Calliope, and Mark’s wife Kanna Aoki’s very succesful Cafe Mimi, Chanson d’Amour and Emmascript), Mark’s first foray into this particular area is a success on every level.

MVB Sacre Bleu, an OpenType release with a raft of alternates and ligatures, is certainly the most flexible and accessible informal script of 2007, and rivals some of the best faces in this vein from the past decade. It’s the kind of face that made me, at least, reconsider the formality of my own work, by opening my eyes to the possibilities of work featuring this sort of type. There are very few faces that live up to that promise in real-world application: Christian Robertson’s Dear Sarah does this with a bit of a Victorian bent, Dave Farey’s Lettres Eclatees is similarly original and useable but is strongly informed by 18th century French lettering, Letterror’s LTR Salmiak is a more mannered approach to the same material. Nick Cooke’s Olicana is probably the only other contemporary face with similar aspirations that is as successful and useful.

As usual, Mark has produced something stylish, memorable and decidedly unkitschy. He seems to get stronger and more articulate with every release, and is one of the few designers whose work consistently excites me.

Joshua Lurie-Terrell is the founder of Typographica and has since moved on to successful blogging ventures like Hewn & Hammered. His days are spent as graphic designer for the California State Senate.

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