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Chi Long Trieu, the Designer Behind Paramount

Swiss type designer Chi Long Trieu shared a few insights into the creation of the Paramount font collection as the font was released this summer by Production Type. Let’s dive in even further behind the scenes of this ambitious multi-faceted type project.
Swiss type designer Chi Long Trieu shared a few insights into the creation of the Paramount font collection as the font was released this summer by Production Type. Let’s dive in even further behind the scenes of this ambitious multi-faceted type project.
Influences : From Art Deco to Sci-Fi, a peculiar blend
Font: Paramount Bold
When asked to encapsulate the main influences behind the Paramount font collection, succinctly responds with "Geometric, Optimistic, Rhythm.” It is indeed a hard task to condense Paramount aesthetics into few words, as it derives from vast and rich influences. From the poster and type work of design legend A.M. Cassandre, to more innovative and futuristic aspirations, the crafting of Paramount is somewhat of a tasteful melting pot. Paramount is equally woven with inspirations from icons like Herbert Bayer, Herb Lubalin, and Ed Benguiat. As a lot of geometric typefaces have risen over the past years, Trieu “tried to avoid looking at contemporary typefaces too much“, reflecting his commitment to originality, innovation and uniqueness.
Paradoxically, Paramount Neo feels innovative and modern while being a stylistic homage to Bauhaus typography. Neo is described by Trieu as "sharp and soft with a bit of nostalgia," reflecting the diverse facets of design evolution.

From concept to construction, the impossible answer to what makes a good font
Font: Paramount Neo Light Italic
Chi-Long trieu crafts his fonts readily on software, with digital precision, molding his creative intent through "shapes, contrast, width, and weight." He humorously dispels the myth of sketchbooks and pens, emphasizing, not without a sens of humour, that the personality and background of a typeface designer reveals itself through their creations. Trieu’s design process steers clear from the accepted conventions of hand-drawn lettering.
When asked, Trieu grapples with the question of what constitutes a "good font" before finally stating that "usability and desirability matter". Thus **balancing the functional and emotional aspects, he divulges his belief that a font truly excels when it holds an intangible "something", without overwhelming its purpose. When pressed for a favorite typeface, the designer humbly declines to make such a definitive statement, acknowledging the breadth and diversity of typefaces available.

An ambitious, collaborative and ongoing font project
Font: Paramount Neo Medium Italic
Paramount is the joint effort of Chi-Long Trieu, his assistant Guillaume Besson, and Production Type’s design team. Its grandeur is mirrored in its timeline: initiated in 2017, the project took nearly six years to reach fruition. Trieu's numerous commitments and commissions required careful time management. Let it be acknowledged the valuable contribution of Guillaume Besson in advancing this monumental project, that features no less than four families with six weights each, plus matching italics, and stylistic sets. An ambitious feat to say the least, as creating such a large family is quite the challenge! Designing a multi-family typeface demands calculated decisions and systematic thinking. Trieu reflects on the impediment of harmonizing each glyph across the collection, underscoring the weight of those decisions and the impact of each on the whole alphabet. “I knew it would be ambitious but I didn’t know “how” ambitious.“ he admits.
Trieu states that collaborating with Production Type has been pivotal: ”[Production Type] trusted me on the design and gave insightful feedbacks. We met at several occasions and they were a great support in every steps!” A well-working partnership that is far from being over: the next development of Paramount is scheduled to be a rounded version of both Paramount and Paramount Neo. It aims at emphasizing how geometrical Paramount’s design is destined to be. Trieu is eagerly anticipating the design community's response to this unique addition.

Keeping up with what’s next
Font: Paramount Regular
The rounded versions of Paramount and Paramount Neo are still underwork between Trieu‘s studio and Production Type and are slated for release.
Trieu’s schedule is quite the full one: running a graphic design studio, working as a type director and teaching at ECAL design school leaves little time for idling. In addition, Trieu's studio buzzes with activity. Projects span from custom typefaces, cultural center identities, and explorations into colonialism's influence on Vietnamese design, language, and culture. Amongst the stockpile of type drafts, there is also another multi-widths-and-weights family on the horizon.

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Based in Paris and Shanghai, Production Type is a digital type design agency. Its activities span from the exclusive online distribution of its retail type for design professionals, to the creation of custom typefaces for the industrial, luxury, and media sectors.
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