French filmmaker Thomas Sipp loves typography. In 2014 he made ‘Sacrés Caractères’, a series of 12 short films about different typefaces. Recently he completed ‘Safari Typo!’, portraying 8 cities on the basis of typography in the public space.

You can keep posted about updates via his Facebook-page of Sacrés Caractères.


‘Sacrés caracteres’

‘The incredible characters’


A series of twelve 3-minute short films that sets off to explore character fonts. Each film sheds light on the history and features of various characters, both familiar and mysterious, via an “encounter” between the narrator (who is crazy about typography), and a font he comes across in everyday life.

The twelve covered fonts are Gotham, Mistral, Coooper Black, Helvetica, Bodoni, Futura, Auriol, Garamond, Trajan, Transport, Comic Sans, and Times.


Thomas Sipp, 'Sacres caracteres'
Thomas Sipp, ‘Sacres caracteres’


Wacht a one-minute introduction to the serie on Vimeo.

You can watch all episodes via Dailymotion.

These funny animations are French spoken (except for the introduction on Vimeo), but worthwile nevertheless.

Directed by Thomas Sipp & Serge Elissalde. Produced by Les Films d’Ici and Bureau 205. Broadcasted by France Culture.


‘Safari Typo!’

‘Type Hunters’


Typography is at the heart of our contemporary culture. In subway stations, shopping streets and residential areas, on billboards, letters are everywhere. These letters define the cityscape as much as architecture or fashion. How does the typography in Barcelona differ from that of Montreal? Why does unorthodox geometrical and decorative display type fit in Amsterdam?

In eight short films, entitled ‘Safari Typo’, French documentary filmmaker Thomas Sipp looks at typography in different cities. The film plunges us into the “typographic cauldron” of the great modern metropolis. We are taken on safaris through some of the great European cities by typographers who will decipher for us the “jungle” of typefaces swarming all around us. Dive into the typographic jungle of these cities and (re)discover the inscriptions that influence our perception of the city.


Thomas Sipp, 'Safari Typo!"
Thomas Sipp, ‘Safari Typo!’


In the films we are guided by well known typographers.

— Berlin: Erik Spiekerman

— Londres: Nadine Chahine

— Paris: Jean François Porchez

— Paris: David Poullard

— Marseille: Tabas

— Montréal: Étienne Aubert Bonn

— Barcelone: Laura Messeguer

— Amsterdam: Bas Jacobs (Underware Type Foundry)

You can watch the films via the website of Arte TV.

English, French, German, and Spanish spoken, with French subtitles.

Directed by Thomas Sipp, and produced by Les Films d’Ici, Arte, and Bureau 205. Broadcasted by Arte TV.


Safari Typo Amsterdam


Bas Jacobs of Underware Type Foundry compiled a brief typographic tour of letters in public space in the Dutch capital. If you’re willing to leave the well-trodden touristic paths, let letters guide you across Amsterdam. If you have seen enough touristic traps, or don’t want to see them at all, this tour will take you to various parts of the city you would otherwise have missed.

Discover how architects, artists and designers left their mark on the city by means of the letters they created on buildings, on bridges, on monuments and elsewhere. This pocket-size book is easy to carry with you as you explore the city. This book is only meant for tourists ready for a mind-expanding experience.

Bas Jacobs, 'Safari Typo Amsterdam'
Bas Jacobs, ‘Safari Typo Amsterdam’

Published at De Buitenkant Publishers.

During a conference in Amsterdam on 20 January 2017 Thomas Sipp presented his films and spoke about the backgrounds. Bas Jacobs talked about his new book ‘Safari Typo Amsterdam’.

Wacht this video on Vimeo.

  • Thomas Sipp 02:32-20:45 min (English spoken)
  • Piet Schreuders 20:45-33.08 min (Dutch spoken; about his 1979 documentary ‘Hollywood at last’)
  • Bas Jacobs 33:08-41-39 min (English spoken)