Following the successful release of the French Minitel in 1988, the telecommunication company France Telecom quickly worked on improving the machine and its interface. Inspired by the worldwide success of the Macintosh personal computer, France Telecom decided to produce a greater range of typefaces for the machine — until then, the Minitel only displayed a single style. Jacques Poncin, director of the Centre Commun d’Études de Télévision et Télécommunications commissionned Ange Degheest to design this new set of alphabets. The technical constraints were extreme, as all glyphs had to fit into a 10×8px grid. Degheest worked from the existing Minitel typeface, for which she designed a bold, an italic and an expanded. She then conceived some original styles: a serif typeface, two script faces, and a blackletter font. In her own words these new designs were supposed to “allow the new forms of text, driven by the technological revolution we are currently experiencing, to enter in a dialogue with historical forms.” Unfortunately the Minitel’s development was cut short by the introduction of the World Wide Web in 1993, and Ange Degheest’s typefaces never saw the light of day.


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