Football club Paris Saint-Germain was founded in 1970, successing the historic football club of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, installed at the Parc des Princes stadium. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of “the youngest of the greatest football clubs” an editorial team was assembled with the goal of telling the history of PSG from its supporters’ point of view. The result, extraordinary in terms of volume and content (over 500 full-text pages plus 4 four-colour inserts showing pictures selected from the club’s archives – most of them appearing for the first time in print), was published by publisher Solar Éditions in November 2020.
The density of information and a huge amount of statistical data (prize list, result tables) forced some of the very first design decisions: working with two distinct typefaces and two distinct colors.
As the budget allowed duotone on whole pages, traditional black ink was replaced with the club’s historical dark blue. A pure red is chosen as secondary tint, alluding to the vertical stripe added on shirts by fashion designer Daniel Hechter, president of PSG, in 1973 – a visual device inspired by a decorative branding on a Ford Mustang he had seen once!
Meanwhile, selecting the pair of typefaces followed simple criteria: a functional and horizontally thrifty serif as a text face and a sans serif dedicated to quantitative data, playing very opposite roles (bold and condensed, almost always set in red and all caps).
Since the sans serif is only used in small sizes within tables (dates, scores, etc.), its formal details are less relevant than its general behaviour: Berthold’s Akzidenz-Grotesk (Condensed) was finally selected, because its shapes were as far removed as possible from those of Futura, the corporate typeface of the CANAL+ group, who owned the club during the 1990s and until 2006. In addition, AG brought a nice surprise: the eternal letter spacing problem posed by its 1 and the upper serif of its 7 gave it a touch of retro jersey numbers…
The serif type had to include at least two stylistic sets of figures (to distinguish between dates and scores, of which there are many in the book) and have a strong contrast in size between capitals and small caps (for sporting clubs acronyms, in particular). Furthermore, this typeface had to support as many languages as possible to enable the transcription of the name and surname of players from all over the world.
Of course, many contemporary typefaces meet such technical requirements, so we needed other criteria to select the right one. The list of 500 players running over 15 pages at the end of the book informed the final choice of Boogy Brut. The initial letters that punctuate the listing from A to Z had to visually stand out, and instead of increasing weight or size, we chose to invite a third component to the party: a powerful and extroverted blackletter, with no obligation of legibility. Blackletter is naturally a nod to the bad-boy tattoos flaunted when goal scorers lift their shirt in front of supporters.
When Boogy Brut was first launched, it was the first typeface to offer a set of drop caps based on a different historical source from the text weights it accompanies. It is therefore killing two birds with one stone, a perfect roman for the constraints of the text and its Wild Black version for the drop caps.
In addition, the Poster White version is logically used for the titles of the chapter opening pages.