Pickle-Standard, Benoît Bodhuin, 2018.

Name: Pickle-Standard

Designer: Benoît Bodhuin

Foundry: BB-Bureau

Release: October 2018

Back story: Belgium-based designer Benoît Bodhuin is known for his expressive, offbeat display fonts—most of which are characterized by geometric shapes and wild, playful arrangements. His body of work is largely experimental, and the designer often approaches the start of a typeface through mathematics. As Bodhuin told us in a 2015 interview: “I’m not interested in readability and reading speed. I’m interested in play and experimenting, in jostling with the rules, in linking typography with other graphic shapes. Once I’ve done that, I like to observe the consequences.”

The designer’s latest release is characteristically cartoony with a touch of the baroquely ornamental. It’s been developed over a long period of time, and is in fact is based on another of Bodhuin’s fonts called Standard (also released last month). “Pickles-Standard is the display version of Standard,” he says, “I’ve filed the counter forms with serifs and have broken its grid. Then I developed an italic version. Both are intended as very expressive versions of the Standard.” His Standard is already quite expressive, but Pickle—with its striking rounded serifs—takes it to the next level.

Pickle-Standard and Standard, by Benoît Bodhuin, 2018.

Why’s it called Pickle-Standard? To reference the descent of its letters, which are, quite simply put, small, squat, and rounded like a little cucumber that’s been left to ferment in vinegar or brine. “The word ‘Pickle’ suggests the silliness of the intent,” says Bodhuin, “whereas Standard is more ‘serious’.”

What are its distinguishing characteristics? It’s dynamic, undulating, and winding like its sibling font Standard, and both rigid and rounded. Its serifs are pickle-shaped, as are its bowls. The spine of the S wiggles out of control, as does its various shoulders. Seen together in a block of text, the characters take on the appearance of a pile of stacked vegetables.

Pickle-Standard, Benoît Bodhuin, 2018.

What should I use it for? “For the packing of sweet, sour pickles,” suggests Bodhuin, tongue firmly in cheek. “Seriously though, I don’t know as I like to be surprised.” We can see it on sweet packaging, and on signs and posters for cultural clients. “Generally, new forms like these, with a strong sense of character that break from obvious typographic references points, are perfect for transmitting a sense of novelty,” says Bodhuin.

What typefaces should I pair it with? Bodhuin’s Standard, of course! Or, a classic like Garamond, which it’ll sing beside. 

Pickle-Standard, Benoît Bodhuin, 2018.