Château Cramirat Collection

Typography / L’écriture et son dessin / Château Cramirat Collection

Fonts and typefaces cast a spell on us. They have to do with typography, which is the style and appearance of printed type. Typography includes designing, structuring, and arranging letters to make written language legibly clear to readers.

As connoisseurs of typography, we know that the visual appeal of written language conveys a much bigger message beyond the actual words. That’s why we collect books about typography and cherish this 1960s collectible volume, L’écriture et son dessin (Writing and its Drawing), by French graphic designer René Munsch.

By exploring the evolution of letters, including their cultural origin, inspiration, and application, all the way from ancient cuneiform to Eskimo writing to 1960s fonts, Munsch not only shows how form and meaning combine, but also stresses how writing has always been a mirror of society, reflecting technological advancements and the understanding of human spirit.

Munsch created the book before the age of digital typography and intended it to be an instructive manual about lettering and print type. Beautifully rendered in old-school French book-design style with a gorgeous color-foil embossed cover, the book is profusely illustrated with examples that position typography as draftsmanship, meaning it is the art of drawing letters instead of just writing them.

It lays out how typography is the technique of using letters communicatively to enhance a graphically-designed composition. If writing means encoding sounds graphically, to Maunch lettering meant drawing these sounds.

Typography enables the full expression of the power hidden within words, as if each word is a whole world waiting to be discovered, and every letter is a road sign transporting you there.

The Château Cramirat Collection, by philosopher Anna Ravitzki and designer Dan Alexander, is a treasure trove of art and design housed in a 12th-century Templar landmark in the Valley of Mankind, Périgord, France.

Munsch, René, H. L’écriture et son dessin. Paris: Éditions Eyrolle, 1966.