Back Story: Faubourg is the second typeface released under Flourish, the brainchild of Positype founder Neil Summerour. Flourish is a unique artist and repertoire program that helps identify and develop rising talent within the type industry. It offers instruction, guidance, and real-world education—on everything from critique and creative workflows, to intellectual property and pricing—with the sole intent of shaping and supporting the industry’s next leaders.
Summerour sought out Boulanger, a Paris-born and London-based independent type designer, and encouraged her to continue developing and refining Faubourg. According to Boulanger, Faubourg was born from her deep love for Parisian vernacular lettering mixed in with elements borrowed from book jackets in her parents’ library. She started drawing it to accompany an illustration project, which was a way to take a break from type design (that obviously didn’t work out quite as planned).
“Many type designers feel pressure for their first release to be clean, legible, fit for anything and everything, with a dozen weights, or they won’t be taken seriously,” she says. “I wanted to do the opposite of that. Creating something great that is meant for titling and logos is just as serious and important, and I wanted to be absolutely unapologetic about that.”
Why’s it called Faubourg? “Faubourg is a very Parisian word, literally meaning suburb but also a neighborhood or a street. It features all of my favorite letters and was also a nod to the French Revolution: the people who stormed the Bastille marched along the Faubourg St-Antoine,” says Boulanger.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? The designer took care to pinpoint the right amount of contrast within the characters—high, but not extreme, and full of surprises. The playful letterforms feature sudden bits of contrast in the capital G and the tail of the Q (which bleeds into its main form) as an unexpected departure from the entirely thin strokes forming the wide shapes of the O, D, and S. The sweet ampersand is like an after-dinner petit four, satisfying without leaving a sugar headache behind.
What should I use it for? “Branding!!! And publishing, in small touches,” Boulanger says.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Summerour says it best: “Agent Sans! It serves as the straight man—the Costello to the Abbott, the Pinkie to the Brain—allowing Faubourg’s dynamic characteristics to shine. Agent doesn’t have the most memorable lines in the movie, but without it, Faubourg lacks the setup. I say this with a wink and a smile, because I feel Faubourg can stand on its own.”