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Lasdislas Mandel (1921-2006)

Initially trained at the Fine Arts Academy of Budapest (Hungary) and then in Rouen (Normandy, France), Ladislas Mandel practiced sculpture, painting and stonecutting for restoration purposes.

In 1954, he was hired by the Deberny & Peignot carving & engraving studio. He there met Adrian Frutiger with whom he got his first tuition. Their collaboration lasted nine years. In 1955, Mandel became studio chief and became involved in the transposition of the D&P metal catalogue into the new area of photocomposition. In 1963, taking the lead after Frutiger, he shifted to an art director position at the very same studio. Within International Photon Corporation, he designed or redesigned numerous typefaces, before settling as a freelance designer in 1977 and specializing in custom phonebook typefaces for which his work remains a reference. His last design in this field is Colorado in 1998 with Richard Southall for US west directories.

Teacher at Paris VIII university, co-founder of "Atelier National de Création Typographique" in 1985, Ladislas seamlessly trained and taught young designers while bringing on his own personal researches on typeface readability. Book lover and wise collector, parts of his personnal collection related to writing were featured at an exhibition "Les lettres ont la forme! Une histoire de l'écriture" at the French postal museum in Paris.

He published two books, first in 1998 "Écritures, miroir des hommes et des sociétés", then "Du pouvoir de l‚écriture" in 2004 at Editions Perrousseaux, which stand for a synthesis of its thinking and a committed speech for the renewal of a certain way of considering type design.

[Jean-Baptiste Levée, March 2007]

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