New release: Le Jeune by Paul Barnes & Christian Schwartz

Le Jeune Text, Deck, Poster, and Hairline
Le Jeune Hairline Regular
Le Jeune Hairline Regular Italic
Le Jeune Poster Regular
Le Jeune Poster Regular Italic
Le Jeune Deck Regular
Le Jeune Deck Regular Italic
Le Jeune Text Regular
Le Jeune Text Regular Italic

The French Modern of the nineteenth century, often named Didot after the famous French printing dynasty who popularized the style, is often the choice serif letter to communicate elegance and sophistication. Le Jeune, originally designed by Commercial Type partners Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz for Vanity Fair in 2013, is a modern adapation of the idiom in four optical sizes. Named for the Parisian typefounder and punchcutter Joseph Molé Le Jeune, a contemporary of the Didot family, Le Jeune blends the precision of French neo-classical types with a more contemporary enlarged x-height and ball terminal shapes from the Anglo-American tradition. Where the French Moderns typically feature soft teardrop forms, Le Jeune features sharp, round ball terminals more typical of both the nineteenth century in Britain, and the later interpretations of these types for Photo-Lettering, Inc. and its contemporaries in the US in the middle of the twentieth century.

Le Jeune, then called VF Didot, first appeared on a cover in October 2013
The family is used by Vanity Fair’s editions all over the world, including Italy.
Vanity Fair also publishes editions in Mexico, Spain, and France.
The family is used throughout the magazine, from feature headlines down to captions.
The one place it isn’t used is for text, where the magazine still uses a proprietary version of Times New Roman
While the largest sizes are extremely delicate, the smallest size can be knocked out of a colored background for captions.
The French edition matches it with a lovely condensed sans by Production Type, seen at bottom.
All styles, even the italics, include small caps, which are often used for pull quotes.
The Stencil version, seen here in VF Italia, was commissioned to add something extra to the family.
Le Jeune helps to bring the voice of Vanity Fair to their website and apps as well.

After arriving at Vanity Fair in late 2011, new design director Chris Dixon took his time in gradually refreshing the look of the magazine. Rather than undertaking a major redesign and launching it with all the splash that entailed, he retained the visual identity of the magazine while steadily improving the sections and navigation and refining the established aesthetic. Part of this evolution was commissioning a new display typeface to replace the various Didots the magazine had long been using: an earlier incarnation of Le Jeune, originally called VF Didot, debuted in the August and September 2013 issues, just in time for the magazine’s 100th anniversary.

The Light weight is included in Le Jeune Hairline, Poster, and Deck, but not Text. Quote by Fabien Baron in Eye no. 18, 1995
The Light Italic is also included in Le Jeune Hairline, Poster, and Deck, but not Text.
All four optical sizes include the Regular
All four optical sizes include the Regular Italic
Medium exists in the Hairline, Poster, and Deck sizes
Medium Italic exists in the Hairline, Poster, and Deck sizes
All four optical sizes include Semibold
All four optical sizes include Semibold Italic
All four optical sizes include Bold
All four optical sizes include Bold Italic
All four optical sizes include Black
All four optical sizes include Black Italic
Molé’s types included some strange and wonderfal alternate forms, and we have included our favorites.
The simpler z was a request from Vanity Fair editor in chief Graydon Carter, who found Molé’s form too exuberant.

Schwartz and Barnes enlisted the help of designer and type historian Sébastien Morlighem to find a wide range of historical references across the French Modern era, eventually settling on the famed broadsheet specimen Molé Le Jeune produced in 1819 as their primary source. Molé’s foundry was bought out by E. Tarbé around 1834, who also acquired the Firmin Didot & fils foundry around 1837 and later renamed the operation the ‘Fonderie générale’. By the 1910s Molé’s punches had ended up in the hands of the Peignot & fils typefoundry, who kept his types available, though they were incorrectly labelled as “Didot”. Molé created one of the most distinct and beautiful variants of the French modern italic, and its idiosyncrasies have been preserved here: in addition to its uncommonly steep angle, it has distinct letterforms such as the sharp lowercase v and w. In both roman and italic, Le Jeune is characterized by crispness and beauty. Though its vertical proportions and ball terminals differ significantly from Le Jeune’s model, the spirit of the original comes through in the grace of the romans and the exuberant spirit of the italics.

    To fulfill the requirements of modern use, Le Jeune comes in four optical sizes for use from huge headlines of 200 point and above, where contrast between thick and thin is most extreme, down to 6 point captions, where robustness is needed. In the largest sizes the family comes in six weights from a Light to a full-figured Black, while the text size omits the Light and Medium for a total of four weights.

Default ball terminal forms in the Deck size
Alternate ball terminal forms in the Deck size
Le Jeune Poster Stencil
Le Jeune Poster Stencil Italic
Le Jeune Hairline Stencil

Greg Gazdowicz has added a stencil version in each optical size, inspired by the famed Modern-style stencil letters found throughout France. In their default form, the ball terminals have been abstracted to simple circles; more tradition-minded designers will find a full set of ‘cut’ alternates available as well. Though not intended for running text in its smallest optical size, the stencil offers new possibilities for applications such as folios or even interface elements. 

Lining fgures (default)
Oldstyle figures
Alternate oldstyle figures
All styles include small caps, even the italics.

All weights of roman and italic feature small capitals, lining and non-lining figures, fractions, and superior and inferior numerals. The non-lining figures come in two versions, one drawn to meet modern expectations, and an alternative set that is more faithful to the forms used in nineteenth century France.

    Designed originally for magazines and editorial design, Le Jeune is well suited to graphic, book and corporate design where modern elegance is a requirement.


VF Didot for Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair design director Chris Dixon has been refreshing the look of the magazine since he arrived in late 2011. Part of this upgrade was a new display typeface to replace the Didot the magazine has been using for nearly 20 years. After nearly a year-long design process, VF Didot, designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz, debuted on the cover of the August 2013 issue.

New logotype for Vanity Fair

The new logotype drawn by Christian Schwartz for Vanity Fair debuted on the 100th anniversary issue, dated October 2013. The look of the logotype refers both to the magazine's historical logotypes and to the new VF Didot typeface designed by Schwartz and Barnes for the magazine earlier in the year.

Advertising in the New York City subway

We're running ads in three subway stations on the L train in Brooklyn for the month of June: Lorimer Street, Graham Avenue, and Grand Street. The ads were designed by Project Projects and the colors are even brighter in person.