Designer: Benoît Bodhuin
Foundry: BB Bureau
Release Date: June 2021
Back Story: Nantes-based graphic designer and typographer Benoît Bodhuin first started drawing Pimpit in November last year for a personal graphic deign project, aiming to create an “evocative” typeface with letters that can swell and contract. It was largely born of a “desire to have fun and get out of the usual codes of typography,” says Bodhuin; though the ways in which it was drawn in the early stages echo his processes on previous fonts, such as 2020’s idiosyncratic BallPill, and 2018’s Pickle-Standard, an equally playful, offbeat display font.
“The challenge with Pimpit—a funny challenge—was to define which parts were most appropriate for swelling and to what extent,” the designer says, describing it as an “athletic and amphetamine-breathing type” in that it’s “abnormally inflated, excessive, hypertrophied.”
Why’s it called Pimpit? Pimpit’s name leans on the definition of “pimp” in its verb form, as in “to add things to something to make it look or sound better, especially by making it more individual,” as defined in the Oxford dictionary, or in early ’00s MTV series Pimp My Ride. That’s because the variable font can take on any number of permutations, allowing users to pay with the size to which the font swells and the directions in which it does so. The name is also a play on “pump,” a nod towards muscle-pumping gym bros: “as an analogy to the human body, it’s ultra athletic,” says Bodhuin.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? In addition to its variable version, Pimpit is available in three weights to which its designer has ascribed unusual descriptors: the “non-sporting version;” a medium weight billed as “the muscular version;” and bold, or “the body-built version.”
The most unusual quality of this deliciously playful, bouncy-looking font is its multifarious permutations in the way it can expand in four directions—up, down, right or left—“so that once inflated the typeface no longer respects any height or width convention,” Bodhuin explains.
What should I use it for? Pimpit is certainly no shrinking violet, so it’s not one for more serious, reserved, or conservative uses. A display font to the max, it’s perfect for posters, record sleeves, editorial design projects, and digital applications thanks to its ability to flourish while in motion. “Our society is a society of excess, and this typeface represents excess in a very figurative way,” Bodhuin explains, “so perfect its to materialize all this excess—consumption, information, sugar, violence, time spent on social networks…”
He adds that it would be interesting to see designers boldly using Pimpit for totally unexpected uses in sectors usually “opposed fields to its crazy expression,” such as luxury or institutional branding projects. As for more conventional uses, he suggests designs for chewing gum brands.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Since Pimpit is such a bold, dynamic, and powerfully cute font, conventional wisdom would suggest that it’s best to stick to pared-back sans serifs to use alongside it. However, its designer simply tells us “Colored Emoji are perfect with it :-)”