Carolyn Porter is a graphic designer, type designer and storyteller. She obtained a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She also studied at Middlesex University in London. After receiving her degree, Carolyn returned to London, where she lived and worked for nearly a year. She lived in Texas for a while, too, but now calls Minnesota home.
For more than twenty years, Carolyn has provided high-quality graphic design services to clients in the financial, medical, environmental and business-service industries. Work samples can be viewed at porterfolioinc.com.
In 2014, Carolyn released her first typeface, P22 Marcel Script, which is based on the handwriting of Marcel Heuzé, a Frenchman conscripted to work in a German labor camp during World War II. During the months Marcel was in Germany, he wrote letters to his beloved wife and daughters back home in rural France. The letters—stained, scarred and covered with censor marks—were the source documents Carolyn used as the basis for the font. The font includes textural details that retain the expressive character of Marcel Heuzé’s original script handwriting.
The font has won numerous awards and honors:
– 2014 New York Type Director’s Club Certificate of Excellence in Typeface Design (this competition is considered the world’s premier typography competition).
– 2014 AIGA-MN
– 2015 Communication Arts Typeface Design
– 2015 Print Magazine Typeface Design
– 2015 Selection: AIGA-MN / University of Minnesota-Mankato “Project Passion” exhibition selection
Marcel Script is distributed by P22 Type Foundry, a company known for representing typefaces inspired by art and history. P22 also works with museums and foundations to ensure the development of accurate historical typefaces that are fully relevant for today’s computer user. Click here to learn more about licensing the font P22 Marcel Script.
In early 1943, Marcel Heuzé was one of hundreds of thousands of ordinary French citizens deported to Germany as part of the collaborationist Vichy government’s STO initiative: Service du Travail Obligatoire, or obligatory work service. After German men vacated jobs in factories, farms and mines to fight on the eastern and western fronts, thousands of positions needed to be filled. And those positions were filled by men like Marcel.
Living conditions in the labor camp were dire. The factory where he worked was a frequent target for bombings. Food was scarce, sanitation was nonexistent, and labor camps had a brutal reputation for working people to death. Survival was unlikely. Yet, the letters Marcel wrote to his wife and daughters contained the most beautiful expressions of love imaginable:
“My little darling, all I have left to do tonight is to ask you to kiss my little ones very tenderly for me, and mom also. Your big guy, who loves you, kisses you with all his strength and with all his heart. And now for all of you: lots of kisses and good night from your absent Marcel.”
Seeking inspiration for a new font design in an antique store in small-town Stillwater, Minnesota, graphic designer Carolyn Porter stumbled across some old letters and was immediately drawn to the expressive pen-and-ink handwriting. She could not read the letters—they had been written in French—but she noticed they had been signed by a man named Marcel and mailed from Berlin to France during the middle of World War II.
As Carolyn grappled with designing the font, she decided to have one of Marcel’s letters translated. Reading words of love combined with testimony of survival inside a German labor camp transformed Carolyn’s curiosity into an obsession, and she sought to find out why the letter writer, Marcel Heuzé, had been in Berlin, how his letters came to be for sale in a store halfway around the world, and, most importantly, whether he returned to his beloved wife and daughters after the war.
Marcel’s Letters is the story of Carolyn’s search to find answers to the mystery of one man’s fate, answers that would come from Germany, France, and across the United States. Simultaneously, she continued to work on what would become the acclaimed font P22 Marcel Script which immortalizes Marcel’s handwriting and letters that waited years to be reunited with his family.
“Porter’s captivating memoir describes her journey to find answers, noting how her fascination with Marcel proved infectious as she faces obstacle after obstacle and enlists the help of experts to discover the fate that awaited him. As impressive as her detective work is, it is Marcel and his letters—real, honest, heartfelt, and brave—that are undoubtedly the star of this marvelous book.”—Booklist Starrred Review