Cobalte is the third in a group of loosely related sans serifs by Jean-Baptiste Levée. It follows the warm, modern path of Cogito and Gemeli but adds a subtle flaring to the strokes. Cobalte’s concave stems and angled terminals allude to the chiseled marks of a stone carver, bringing a bit of a monumental quality to what is otherwise an understated workhorse. This sense of stability and prestige was ideal for commissioned projects in the financial and real estate industries where the design was first conceived.
Levée cites various sources as inspiration, from inscriptional capitals of ancient Greece and ornamental French type of the 1920s to under-appreciated modern faces like Adrian Frutiger’s Icone and José Mendoza’s Pascal. What Cobalte adopts from these sources is just under its skin, however. The most apparent attributes are the utility and humanism that are at the core of all Levée’s designs. Bridging the two worlds of sans and serif, Cobalte has a style that is rarely associated with functional typefaces. Without too much fanfare, it can bolster flat text with a touch of distinction.
Awards & distinctions
Tokyo TDC Annual Awards “Excellent work” 2017
Design: Jean-Baptiste Levée. Team: Sandra Carrera, Yoann Minet, Alex Chavot.