Berthe

Named after Emma Bovary’s neglected child, Berthe was designed by Charles Mazé after Deberny & Peignot’s Série 16 for a new edition of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Published by Four Corners Books in 2012, the book was designed by John Morgan studio and illustrated by Marc-Camille Chaimowicz with photographs, collages and found objects that chronicle Emma’s attempts to escape the banalities of provincial life.

Deberny & Peignot, then Deberny & Cie, released its Série 16 around 1887. It was engraved by Constant and Auguste Aubert under the direction of Charles Tuleu, the adoptive son of Alexandre Deberny – whose mother, Laure de Berny, had bought from her lover Honoré de Balzac the printing house he didn’t manage to transform in a profitable company. Série 16 was one of the foundry’s most successful ‘caractères ordinaires’, a set of typefaces aimed at everyday jobs. Widely used in France over the 20th century in countless paperback editions of classic texts, and praised by Jan Tschichold as one of the best designs from the pre-war period in his Neue Typographie, it feels like one of these typefaces that has always been there, although unfortunately neglected during the transition from metal to digital type.

  • Designed by Charles Mazé, 2012–18
  • Available in 2018