Abordage is a sans serif typeface taking inspiration from Ange Degheest’s letterings on nautical charts.
Freshly graduated from the School of Fine Arts in Rennes, Ange Degheest joined SHOM (Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine) in her hometown of Brest, and specialised in the engraving of letters on nautical charts. During her years at SHOM (between 1947 and 1951), the printing process for maps went through significant changes, leaving behind the traditional etching technique for offset printing. The engraved matrix evolved from being a copper plate to an engraving plate made of astralon (a special plastic material) which was then used to produce the offset plates. At SHOM, Degheest became acquainted with various lettering styles, whose very codified functions were specific to the nautical charts of this period. These elementary inscriptions, which were rather easy to produce, were often completed by assistants who were still undergoing training.
The typeface Abordage is a free interpretation of the letter shapes used to designate mountains and isolated rocks on maps; they are characterized by a monolinear simplicity and numerous charming oddities.