Capucine is a contemporary sans-serif typeface primarily designed for magazines and more generally for print. With its big x-height, small ascenders and descenders, and wide counters, it is space-saving and designed to work well at small sizes. Unusually for a sans-serif typeface, Capucine has a strong calligraphic flavour and shares features with old style faces; it shows influence of the broad-nib pen in its contrast between thicks and thins and oblique axis. Also, there is a sense of the flow of handwriting that gives a slightly informal flavour to the typeface. But Capucine is above all contemporary and unconventional, mixing historical references with idiosyncratic features. At big sizes, Capucine reveals its originality and its liveliness; used at small sizes, it offers great legibility, making it suitable for a wide range of applications.
The italic was conceived as an independent design, yet in the same spirit as the roman. Although its slant is slight (8°), Capucine italic shows a greater speed and cursivity than the upright. It has, among other characteristics, bigger contrast between thicks and thins, emphasized instrokes and oustrokes, and lower junctions. The capitals bear a subtle swashy style, reminiscent of such Art Nouveau typefaces as Française Légère or Grasset. The overall color of the italic is also slightly lighter than the regular. All those features make Capucine Italic a dynamic and lively companion to the upright that works perfectly as a secondary typeface. However, one might consider using it as an independant face, for display purposes for example.
The Latin and Greek components mutually influenced each other throughout the design process, and it would be difficult to tell which one came first. Both scripts share some similar features: a strong cursive influence, a hint of a loop on some characters (e.g. on the Latin n and Greek η), the shape of the terminals… However, each script preserves its singularity – there has been no attempt to standardize the two. Among other characteristics, the Greek version is less contrasted than the Latin. The effect is to allow a similar overall colour when both scripts are set together. The placement of thicks and thins is also different in Capucine Greek than in the Latin; as observed in historical examples, the stress varies from one letter to another in Greek, and attention was paid to respect this, avoiding thus a possible “latinisation” of the script.
As Capucine is designed primarily to be used in magazines, building an extended family was a crucial part of the design process. Capucine Thin and Black were first conceived as display variants. These two “extremes” reveal different flavours, although they belong to the same family and work well together: the Thin version is delicate and refined, whereas Capucine Black leans toward a more brushy, almost comic style. The Light and Bold versions were then designed to offer a range of weights that are easily useable at text size, and that would combine effectively with any other variant. As a whole, the family offers a solution for any kind of content, from continuous text to more complex structures.