Original: Mistral / Designer: Roger Excoffon (1953)
Redesign: Mistralle / Designer: Karolína Stryková (2016)

My first intention was to create an entirely new typeface based on Mistral. I was enthusiastic about redoing a handwritten font, but at the same time I did not have a positive relationship towards Mistral. It seemed commonplace and outdated. Now, over time, I know that the reason behind my prejudice was the fact that it was often poorly used.

At first I started with sketches of my own interpretation of Mistral. Inspired by the connected lower-case letters, I created new character shapes that were based on my lettering style, including new upper-case letters. In the course of my work I started to discover just what a brilliant typeface Mistral was and I returned to its original forms – the very first published version created by Roger Excoffon in 1953. In my further work on the typeface I focused on its history, concentrating on why the typeface was published and for what applications. I tasked myself with creating a character set based on the original template, but one that would function in OpenType for today’s typesetting needs.

Mistral is particularly remarkable in that the lower-case letters connect on a single line, which was highly unusual for scripts. The original typeface also had a specific stroke structure that I tried to preserve in the new characters. I had to figure out how to make the characters able to stand alone and connect fluidly in text while respecting both the original skeleton and modern typesetting needs. On the other end, I tried to adapt the slant and size of the upper-case letters so that they would work better with lower-case letters. In addition to the basic characters, I have added two more sets of upper-case letters that work as stylistic sets: alternative capitals that are based on the lower-case typeface, and swash capitals designed for headlines, names and first words. The new Mistral also has more ligatures and alternative characters as OpenType features for ends of words.

Mistral must be used carefully and with feeling. When this happens, it looks great, even on a bottle of French wine or on a film poster. Because the typeface has new characters and a very feminine character, I call it Mistralle.

  • Evolution / Original Typefaces Redesigned
  • Type and Typography studio
  • @ Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague / 2016