Carolinéale typeface

The emergence of early musical notations, which started from the eighth century onwards, ended a secular tradition of melodies’ learning based on word-of-mouth. The first musical notes written down on parchment (called neumes) will then evolve over the centuries to become our modern system of musical notation. Two carolingian scriptures particularly caught the attention of paleographers : the Messine writing and the writing of St. Gall. Those are still used today to interpret the Gregorian chant as faithfully as possible to its ancestral form.

The drawing of Carolinéale was based on the observation of two peculiar manuscripts, which are considered as landmarks with regards to the study of early notation systems. It was also sustained by the community of the Gregorio project, an open-source software whose objective is to enable publication of partitions using Carolingian notation systems. The design process has led to a relatively informal drawing style for the musical signs, which is reminiscent of handwriting, and to a sans serif alphabet thought as a contemporary interpretation of the ductus of the Carolingian minuscule. The typeface is integrating some telltale features of the ductus of the Carolingian minuscule while seeking to remain stable, contemporary and readable.

Carolinéale is still in progress. Among other things, the Messine writing is to be added to the family, as well as an appropriate italic and a few extra weights. The typeface started as a research project at the Atelier National de Recherche Typographique, Nancy, France.


Nouvelle étiquette is a graphic design bureau located at 14 avenue Foch, Metz, France. It is composed of four graphic designers (Émilie, Francis, Julie and Xavier) driven by the same desire for creativity, interdisciplinarity and quality. Since 2013, Nouvelle étiquette has managed graphic design projects for cultural associations, public institutions, private companies and sometimes big capital. Thought as a place between a graphic design studio and a research workshop, the bureau nurtures the personal experiences of its members. Nouvelle étiquette is defined by an approach that emphasizes the search for meaning as the driving force behind the emergence of relevant graphic forms. Its work is also based on a particular sensitivity to typography, contemporary art and literature, as well as a way of seeing graphic design as a source of understanding and joy. The creative bureau pays the greatest attention to a deeper comprehension of its commissions and strives to establish constant dialogue with its partners. Nouvelle étiquette regularly takes part in conferences and workshops, while some of its members teach at art school in order to transmit, share and advance knowledge in graphic design.