Julia art directs Elephant

London-based design studio Julia has recently completed a rehaul of the art direction of visual culture magazine Elephant, designing a bespoke typeface in the process…

London-based design studio Julia comprises the talents of Valerio Di Lucente, Erwan Lhuissier and Hugo Timm. The trio has recently completed a rehaul of the art direction of visual culture magazine Elephant, designing a bespoke typeface in the process. Click through to find out more about the new typeface and to see a selection of spreads from the new issue of the magazine…


The new typeface, appropriately named Elephant, is the result of an investigation, say Julia, of letterpress. “The ink absorption of the letterpress process was and is very different from current offset printing, resulting in clogging. On its display sizes, Elephant has ink already trapped in the inner angles, simulating this effect. For small body copy there is another cut with normal ink traps.”

Above: a closer look at a couple of letterforms that show a bit more clearly the idea of ink trapped in the tighter angles of letterforms


Here are some spreads from the new issue (7) of Elephant:


“When we’re designing a magazine we see ourselves as contributors in the broadest sense of the word,” Julia’s Erwan Lhuissier tells us of the sudio’s approach to art directing Elephant. “The design is one of the many things involved in putting a publication together,” he continues, “and we enjoy when it’s an extension of what’s happening in the whole editorial process. With Elephant we’ve been focusing on giving each of its sections a distinctive identity. That requires changing image selections, the way texts are written, the relationship between individuals and their subjects, and ultimately the layouts. It is an ongoing process and that’s part of the beauty of working on magazines: it’s never over and there’s always more to be explored. The typeface is part of this process and we’re taking the opportunity to keep developing it. We feel that its main idea, clogged ink, can generate interesting effects when pushed further.”




  • David

    I haven’t seen this face to face yet so can’t really comment, but it looks massively disappointing. Dull and overly safe, and not half as exciting as the earlier issues.

    I’m not usually one for negitivity, but this just looks like a step backwards to me

  • Mike

    @David you can’t really comment, but you will anyway. Well done.

  • y

    well he can comment, its called a comment section. we will (comment) anyway. well done

  • I really like it personally. Not a radical font but I think the spreads look great

  • Alexander

    Can only be described as a big step backward from the fantastic Studio8 designed issues.

    and is it just me, or is the ‘bespoke typeface’ – for all of the spiel about absorption and inktraps – bloody ugly and covering no new ground at all?

  • The magazine changes every issue, anyway, so changes aren’t dangerous. This magazine is the perfect venue for experimentation. I can’t wait to get my hands on an actual issue.

  • jowey

    must be seen, an absolutely beautiful piece of print irl.

  • Gary

    I dont think Mike was being literal ‘y’…

    I think its so nice, typeface is beautiful. Julia always impress

  • VERY safe, but still, VERY nice. I will be getting it.

  • SmethwickLodge

    this is a perfect example of how graphic design is dull, flat and lifeless right now.

    the previous design had alot more going for it imo.

    a bespoke font, for what reason? a nip and tuck here and there is poormans excuse of a new, bespoke font. this is student stuff… it doesnt give anything unique to the proceedings other than try and justify involvement.

  • David


    relax man

  • Matthew

    The earlier issues were nice, no doubt. But this…this is what I’d been waiting for, and didn’t even know it. The issue still sits on my desk, flipped through regularly, while the others remain on the shelf.

  • Justin

    i love this typeface. i especially love all of the off-white and grey pastels they used in many of the spreads to compliment this type. very well executed. would definitely add this one to the collection. i’m siked on the capital W’s that overshoot in the middle.

  • Eero

    This brings a more contemporary look to the magazine that it was missing before. The typeface is great!