Courtesy Jérémy Landes.

Name: NaN Jaune
 Jérémy Landes
Release Date: 
May 2021

Back Story: Back in 2016, NaN Jaune began as custom lettering for the musician Jaune (though he ended up not using it). Its inspiration comes from midcentury type design legend Roger Excoffon’s Antique Olive, released in 1962. Landes became fixated upon drawing a compact sans serif with the shortest possible ascenders and descenders, tight-as-you-can letter spacing, plus the charming warmth provided by inconsistencies and an organic way of drawing.

“I tried to put in some of the joy, comfort, and warmth I find in cooking and eating,” says Landes. “I often make this analogy between melting cheese and Jaune Maxi’s closed aperture.” Indeed, the blobby, almost distorted counterspaces within the letterforms do recall the slump of some good Gruyère collapsing under a hot broiler, a sentence I never thought I’d write in an article about a typeface.

Why’s it called NaN Jaune? Besides the original tie to the musician of the same name, Jaune also means yellow in French. Landes says, “I like the idea of associating a color with a font—it brings some poetry into the equation.” All the typefaces from this foundry come with the prefix NaN.

What are its distinguishing characteristics? Jaune, while harkening back to Antique Olive as an ancestor, boasts crazy unique features all its own. Check out, for example, the number of shapes that make up the two-story lowercase g! Marvel at the amoeba-like (or melted-cheese-like, if you prefer) counters! The cuts and joins that are not sharp but end in squared-off geometry! The m with its one sharp cut and one gentle curve! The extreme stroke contrast within the Maxi family! Landes says, “The hardest part was to envision how Jaune could go further than the first bold titling styles. Drawing the super-thin weights and text versions was a conceptual challenge, but leaving my comfort zone to make the Jaune spirit work in such opposite styles was the most surprising and fulfilling part of the process.”

What should I use it for? “Jaune is an incredible tool for branding projects,” says the designer. “The Maxi styles do the heavy work of defining a distinctive identity and the Mini sub-family takes care of spreading the brand spirit more subtly where comfort and legibility are at stake.” The typeface brings flair to editorial print projects too.

What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Boogy Brut’s tall x-height makes it a fine serif companion. For a more sign-painterly vibe that fits well with Jaune’s organic curves, PVC Dinasty (coming soon as an addition to the PVC family) will make a bang-up partner.