Typorama – review by Freda Sack

Category: Review


The Typorama exhibition currently on at Les Arts Décoratifs, Paris, is a major retrospectice of the work of French graphic designer Philippe Apeloig. The successive stages in the development of each project are documented, providing unique insight into the creative process and the major influences on his work. 

On Philippe’s background – it was his passion for literature and the performing arts that awakened an interest in graphic design. After studying art in Paris, he joined Total Design in Amsterdam in the early 1980s. His independent career began in 1985 with the now seminal poster for the Musée d’Orsay opening exhibition Chicago, birth of a metropolis. Since then Philippe has been intent on giving typography a conceptual and emotional dimension, turning the letter into an artistic and painterly object in a field often regarded as merely technical or functional. For him, typography can be choreographic – as evident in his posters for the October Fesitval in Normandy, musical as shown in the work for Théâtre du Châtelet, and graphic landscape in his poster for Voies navigables de France. He has won awards in the ISTD professional awards for several of these posters.

This exhibition is a must for anyone with an interest in typography, covering logos, typefaces, books, book covers and his amazing large-scale posters. It is the epitome of a teaching tool on how to design and experiment with type and typography – plus all the detailing. Everything in the work is done with good reason, and the end results are fit for purpose whether an informative readable book, or an arresting poster. Probably one of the best exhibtions on typography I've seen.


Just like Mr Appeloig and like all the best designers I also spent some time at Total Design. There is a joyful playfulness about Philippe’s work.... which seems to fit better in France than Holland, strange but I think true... I probably won’t be seeing the show but totally agree with Freda if you get the chance don’t miss it... let’s hope the exhibition travels over the channel to the UK.

Posted by andy gossett on 7th January 2014 at 10:50pm