NaN and Jérémy Landes’ extensive type family NaN Jaune is bursting with novelty and character
In a fascinating concoction of colliding letterforms and three optical sizes, NaN Jaune – from the Berlin-based duo of designer Jérémy Landes and foundry NaN – is a large and characterful type family like no other; engineered within three Maxi, Midi and Mini subfamilies to accommodate any given size or application.
Discussing the sheer variety built within the typefaces, from the optical exaggerations of Mini for its use in longer text or Maxi’s brutalist closed counters, Landes notes “at the end of the day, you can use either of them at any size depending on your liking and bravery.” Creating NaN Jaune in order to bring something fresh and challenging to the grotesque typeface genre, Landes recalls his drive for originality within his practice – something manifested in the creation of NaN Jaune – telling us “I try at all costs to bring creations that have some kind of novelty to the world.”
This sense of fun and candour distilled with NaN Jaune is also reflected in the partnership between NaN’s Luke Prowse and Landes – having met through a mutual friend in Berlin. “I saw in NaN’s approach so many matching points with what I want to do in type design,” Landes explains, noting “novelty in shapes, self-derision, quality, a fair and simple licensing system, a joyful art direction,” as examples. “Luke showed so much enthusiasm and pushed me to develop Jaune in a more ambitious way that I would have done alone, and way faster,” Landes adds, having Prowse accompany the design process – providing guidance and feedback along the way. “We also put some joyful energy into preparing the release while creating the specimen minisite and game together,” Landes tells us, referencing ‘Sans Sherif,’ a desktop game built into NaN Jaune’s microsite that encourages the audience to support independent type foundries and win type licenses in the process.
With an abundance of character shared within both the website and the typeface itself, there is something very human in the construction of NaN Jaune; home to softness and relaxed ardour. “I often make this analogy between melting cheese and Jaune Maxi’s closed aperture,” Landes recalls, mentioning the purposeful personality he grew in the typeface. “I tried to put in some of the joy, comfort and warmth I find in cooking and eating,” he concludes, “I find a lot of pleasure in cooking warm and surprising dishes for others and try to convey a bit of this organic pleasure in my typefaces too.”