P22’s Marcel Font: The True Tale Behind the Typeface

marcel font

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story was originally posted & printed with a mistake saying, “Marcel Heuzé was a French soldier forced to leave his family to fight in WWII as part of the Vichy government’s Service du Travail Obligatoire (obligatory work service).

The corrected statement now reads, “Marcel Heuzé was an ordinary citizen, forced to leave his family to work in Germany during WWII as part of the Vichy government’s Service du Travail Obligatoire (obligatory work service).


The True Story Behind P22’s Marcel Font

You probably know P22 Type Foundry, home to the award-winning typeface Marcel, with more than 1,300 glyphs and companion fonts. But did you know that Marcel was a real person?

Designer and typographer Carolyn Porter has captured an incredible true historical love story in her new book Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate.

marcel font

Marcel Heuzé was an ordinary citizen, forced to leave his family to work in Germany during WWII as part of the Vichy government’s Service du Travail Obligatoire (obligatory work service). He spent time working in a squalid Berlin factory—often a target for bombings—and writing letters to his wife and daughters.

Porter came across Heuzé’s legacy while searching for font design inspiration in the small town of Stillwater, MN. She discovered a bundle of handwritten notes in an antique shop, and after being intrigued by his lettering and having one of them translated from its original French, realized that she had “opened a portal to a different time”—a portal that spanned three countries and one man’s love for his family.

Marcel’s Letters follows Porter as she searches for Heuzé’s fate and works on refining the typeface that would become P22 Marcel Script, simultaneously “immortalizing the man and his letters that waited years to be reunited with his family”—and creating a rare typographic tale that intrigues and inspires.


We’re excited to announce this year’s Print Magazine Typography Issue! With cover by John Keatley and Louise Fili, we dive into the turning tides of typography. Join the discussion, question the standards, give things a fresh look. Grab your copy of the Print Summer 2017 Special Typography Issue today.  

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