When it comes to innovative, experimental type design, Belgium-based Benoit Bodhuin is pretty far ahead in the race. In a previous article about Benoit, we described him as a “progressive designer” and “one to keep an eye on for sure.” Five years later and we are happy to have followed our own advice.
Benoit’s latest font designs are characterised by their strikingly unique and expressive quality, some of which are arranged around monochrome, geometric shapes. Benoit may now be an accomplished typographer, but a career in the creative industry wasn’t always on the cards for the designer. “I have spent years studying, many of which involved little passion or no interest in the subject. My first degree was in mathematics. After a few detours and deviations, I went back to study a three-year graphic design course later on in life. I became interested in typography very quickly as my main practice,” Benoit tells It’s Nice That. The Belgian designer now splits his time between typeface creation and teaching typography at various design schools across Europe.
Painting, sculpture, music or film, Benoit draws inspiration from various creative practices. “Different sources interlink in my mind and influence my visual aesthetic. My typefaces are a combination of these different factors. But the starting point of my designs is usually mathematics. I have always had a desire to discover what could happen or what course a design might take on the basis of fact, which in this case is a letter,” Benoit explains. The designer’s curiosity guides his creative process, resulting in this interdisciplinary mix of aesthetics and mathematics. This in turn gives way to his lively and playful designs.
“My body of work is an experimental repertoire of fonts. It is an invitation to discover my various typefaces and graphic designs,” Benoit says. One typographic design, Font Catalogue, is made up of 12 pages, each of which contains a letter from the journal’s title. The type is organised around simple black, linear shapes without restrictions of alphabetical orders. Benoit does not seek to recreate predictable narratives with his fonts. Instead, he invites the reader to interpret and appreciate his designs in abstract and non-linear ways.
“My typefaces are atypical drawings. They are not always easy to use and it sometimes takes practice to have fun with them. I like it when my fonts are used unexpectedly and I’m not necessarily the best at this! But through the unusual layouts, I try to break conventions and encourage people to play with the fonts, and handle them in unexpected ways.”
Benoit’s latest fonts are available here.