In November 1971 the Fundición Tipográfica Neufville (Neufville Type Foundry) presented the “Vellvé” alphabet designed by graphic artist Tomás Vellvé Mengual at an annual event organised by FAD. The presentation resulted in a complete font family of mobile typefaces in body text 24 and won the Laus Award as one of the three best graphic works of the year.
“Vellvé”, the first Iberian “sans serif”, as presented by Neufville, was an original creation produced entirely in Spain, from the design to the engraving matrices. As the presentation booklet to this font outlined, “the first ‘Vellvé’ castings were preceded by three years of preparation. The first stage was careful and in-depth studies of the character forms by the designer, which gave rhythm to consistent combinations of curves and straight lines”. The same text also highlighted how an international survey was carried out on the alphabet, out of which came highly favourable opinions and some suggestions in terms of the thickness of the features and justification of the letters.
In the same promotional booklet of typography, Pere Creus wrote: “Setting out from practically square or rectangular modules, in which normally characters are inscribed – and what the Greeks had adopted in what we call upper case – all letters have been structured, but also freed from the cold, hieratic attitude this attachment often entails. This is obtained by smoothing out – via a subtle and evanescent finish – the visual roughness of truncated curves and angular lines in certain letters”.
Although “Vellvé” set out to ensure a typeface that would prove equally suitable for titles and text bodies, the reality is that it worked much better for larger texts, as, in parallel, it sought to (successfully) resolve a purely utilitarian issue – text composition – as well as providing aesthetic enjoyment when contemplating a really beautiful and harmonious font.
Pere Creus added: “The psychology and motivation of the new “Vellvé” type becomes more intense and more memorable – the incomparable ‘lone meditation’ in front of the printed page, which constitutes reading – as expressed by the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier”.