Noël Leu and Thierry Blancpain founded Grilli Type in Switzerland in late 2009 as a collaborative avenue for working with other designers. Although the foundry is based in Lucerne, we’re active on a global scale. Thierry now lives in New York City, and Noël travels extensively, ricocheting between East Asia, North America, and Europe. The studio now numbers eight, with colleagues dispersed across the globe.
But just because we’re Swiss doesn’t mean we’re neutral. We make type with a point of view, type that conveys meaning beyond the words it spells out. It also transcends technical excellence, which we consider a given—after all, if our type didn’t read and perform well in a wide range of challenging environments, we wouldn’t be doing our job. What matters to us is this: What story does a typeface tell? What kind of personality does it have?
Type may be our main gig, but it’s far from our only one. We’re graphic designers by training and temperament who happen to run a type foundry. The relationships we’ve forged with other designers are collaborations in the truest sense of the word. They’re essential to our mission and inform our desire to produce useful type. That’s why we make minisites for our typefaces. We want to show them in action, in context—to give them a voice let them tell a compelling story in their own words.
Besides offering retail typefaces, we’re also a service provider. Our Commissions section
unspools a highlight reel of sorts, showcasing a constellation of selected and diverse projects. From customizing our existing typefaces to producing language extensions to drawing custom families for global brands to creating original wordmarks, we develop wide-ranging, type-focused projects tailored to our clients’ precise specifications.