Name: La Nord Re
Designer: Raoul Gottschling
Release Date: June 2019
Back Story: Back in 1999, Mattel introduced Soccer Barbie as a tie-in product for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Yay, sports! This summer, U.S. players (and defending champions) Christen Press, Megan Rapinoe, Tobin Heath, and former national team player Meghan Klingenberg will launch a far more progressive venture timed to the WWC matches happening in nine cities across France. The women are kicking off Re-Inc, a “high-quality lifestyle brand that reinvents culture, reimagines products, and redefines business,” with a T-shirt reading “Liberté, égalité, defendez” (as a clever twist on the French national motto). In the near future, Re-Inc will expand to include beauty, wellness, and tech products as well. The founding partners’ larger goal is to challenge the status quo, increase the number of female and minority business owners and investors, and take a non-binary approach to product design; the clothing, for example, will not be labeled specifically for men or women.
To establish the new company’s visual identity, the team turned to Pentagram’s New York-based partner Eddie Opara. “They have fought to get equal or better pay in their profession. To be seen as heroes not only for females but also for males and non-binary gender identities as well. We wanted them to have a great foundation to start capturing people’s hearts and minds as they build their brand,” Opara says.
Why’s it called La Nord Re? German designer Raoul Gottschling had already designed La Nord as a personal project, and Opara saw an opportunity to customize it by reversing the lower case “e.” Adding the “Re” onto the typeface name sets it apart from its original identity.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Along with the sudden sharp contrasts where bowls and curves meet strokes, a very high-waisted lower case “f,” and an aggressively long crossbar on the capital “G,” the reversed lower case “e” is La Nord Re’s most outspoken and striking characteristic. “We wanted to visually present the idea of the opposite of what is normally provided to us,” Opara says. “On social media, people have already started using the backwards e in their slogans. A mark that instantly becomes ubiquitous, it can be used in any type of body text.”
What should I use it for? Right now, it’s proprietary to Re-Inc. Sorry, graphic designers! You will have to admire it from afar.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? As part of the brand launch, Pentagram combines La Nord Re with Gothic sans serifs in thin condensed weights mixed with chunky black extended characters, plus an italic thrown in here and there for good measure. “In general we’re saying: this is anything but regular. This label is different, it’s not the standard thing you’re used to, these women are not the standard thing you’re used to,” says Opara. “There’s many a sports star whose product line features his/her own name plastered across everything. This group didn’t do that; that’s not the message they want to convey.”