French graphic designer Benoit Bodhuin’s newest display font looks as if an art deco typeface has collided with a rickety vegetable stand. Fittingly called Breaking Rules Typeface, it’s the latest madcap spectacle to enter Bodhuin’s cirque du caractères (the rest of which we spoke about with the designer a few months ago).
This addition to the ring is bulbous and unruly, a playful typeface that’s intended for books and magazines despite its mischievous sense of expressiveness. Its main features stem from the shape of the serifs, which ringleader Bodhuin used to clarify the difference between the four weights (like the condensed shape of the light weight vs. the extended spread of the bold). As it’s designed to be lively and unexpected, the display text Bodhuin used to show it off is taken from French absurdist Jean Tardieu, whose writing evokes the kind of sing-song tone that Bodhuin felt harmonized well with Breaking Rules.
This typeface is unlike any other we’ve seen from Bodhuin in the past, which tend to be edgy and geometric. Yet the font continues to explore themes that Bodhuin has been experimenting with throughout his graphic design career, like playing with weights and extensions to create letterforms that fall halfway between text and display type. For the designer, this new font achieves a certain versatility; he sees it working in an editorial context as well as in packaging for products “like for flowery candy.”
The reason that the font looks so different from what he’s done before has to do with a change in the constraints that the designer set for himself at the start of the project. Instead of beginning with a geometric constraint as he had in the past, Bodhuin began Breaking Rules with shapes “more related to drawing and classical aspects of typography.” So although the results look spectacularly different from what we’ve come to know from the French designer, the idea and process behind it is much the same. It’s another rebellious typeface, one that’s simply dressed in a surprising new guise.