Martial Roulot rookie

Moi & Mes Types

It's about sharing!

Fontainebleau, France


How long have you been printing?

2014. It's ten years ago today. Oh gosh.

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

I used to deal with typography and printing issues in my daily job, teaching this stuff; at least the history. I had several graphic design experiences as well. But, the very start of my journey is the day when an old master showed me fresh type just cast with his hand mould. 'Fiat lux!' I got my first lead font a couple of weeks later...

Where did you learn?

I didn't have any real academies with letterpress. I learned by meeting keepers of printing legacy and practicing a lot in my workshop. I had (and I still have) several masters, but without getting into a classic apprenticeship. Anyway, there isn't such training anymore!

Who was your most influential teacher?

I'm infinitely grateful to all the teachers I met who gave me a taste for learning. Then, I became a teacher myself. Those I'm thinking of are not particularery printing or graphic design teachers.

What super power would you like to have?

The same of those humanistic printers who were able to think, design and produce their ideas in so many different langages, in so many different topics... They were writers, typesetters, printers and publishers in the same moment; kind of a total experience.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

I have fun with me, myself and I... & my types. But it's about sharing! It's better to make together.

What do you most value in your friends?

That they share, without taking account. That they move forward, as I guess I do...

When do your best ideas occur to you?

Probably sleeping.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Mistral. Most def.

What tool do you use more often than any other?

I'm always between my composing stick and my carving gouge. But nothing comes until the pencil verbalises the idea.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Books are as invasive as they are free at home. None stays such a long time on my nightstand. But it could be 'Illusions Perdues' by Balzac...

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

I'm not sure I would have a lot of fun learning in the printing office of Simon de Colines with his little son-in-law Robert Estienne, even if I love that golden age of printing... I'd rather have access to Wolfgang Weingart typography in that transition time he knew...

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

The Showcard is my best ever device. My bigger posters roll off an Hauer Record proof press; I can set A1 designs with it. I have got a 'Boston type' manual press working, and a 'Nationale', a treadle platen, 1/4 raisin. Unfortunately, this last one is not operational for now. Moreover I collect Freinet printing presses, I use them for public workshops with children.
+ lead, + wood, obviously.

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

Square meters. But furthermore, enough room to accommodate people.

When and where are you the happiest?

'In my workshop', you expect. Do you?

What is your greatest fear/worry?

To read everything I just wrote in a couple of week and find it so corny.

What do you think is useful about what you make?


What’s your day job?

I'm a graphic design teacher in a college of art in Paris - l'école Estienne.

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?

I'm so happy to have learned book binding the past three years. But, actually, this is the same story ;-)