On this issue of Type Founds, we’ll be taking a look at trending type designs that imitate paper cut-outs, and how they might have originated from thinner, Brutalist fonts.
It was a hazy memory, but I think I saw it once on someone’s Twitch stream. He was scrolling through this beautiful website called fiskprojects.com, and there it was on one of its listed merchandise.
That weirdly pixelated-but-not-really lettering hits different on the water bottle it was printed on. It brings to mind those funky “branded” decals you often see strangers have on their bicycles.
I thought it was a custom type, but it’s not. The typeface I was staring at is called Gikit by Benoit Bodhuin. It’s a heavy-weighted display font with cut-out-like slants, circles and zigzags. His typographic works are tours de force, a man who puts the ‘brutal’ in ‘brutalism,’ and in a good way.
Brutalism has been at the top of the design sphere for some years now. Raw and frugally-arranged web designs keep surfacing day by day with every new collection Jeremiah Shoaf curates on TypeWolf. That is not surprising, with web builders like Cargo and Readymag offering such accessible templates to the masses.
As we inch our way on the Brutalist pipeline, we also see new typefaces develop according to that demand. Squiggly lines in a sans serif? Yes.[1,2,3,4] Rounded pixels? You’ve got it.[1,2,3,4] Now comes those that look inspired by the scissored works of Henri Matisse. But I think there’s another inspiration these cut-out fonts might’ve stemmed from.
Before the rise of cut-outs, it was abruptly straight, jagged lines that were fashionable in Brutalist typefaces. Paul Renner already had thoughts of doing that in the 1920s for Futura. The concept was, unfortunately, so ahead of its time that the idea remained in its older specimen, until recently.
Bauer Types and Lineto each had their re-renditions of Futura with the original straight-lined alternates included in their buyable fonts. They were released in 2015 and 2020 respectively. It was also during this period which saw a rise in other interpretations of sans serifs with Renner-like quirks pushed to greater extremes.
You’ve got works like Programme and Fifty which added more straight lines in its alphabets where there shouldn’t be. Some shoot for the sky by overwhelming the concept into the entire typeface, such as MD Maya and Bendición. The Uncut type catalogue continues to document new recent inclusions to this type genre like NulTien and Geom.
Now, here’s a thought. What if one were to make a font like this very, very bold? I’m talking fatter than Futura Extra Bold kind of weight. That’s right, you get things like Bodhuin’s Gikit coming into existence. And you needn’t be surprised that there are more of such type designs joining the fun.
David Jonathan Ross has teased his monthly font subscription with one called Megazoid. 205TF’s Tifo Venezia and Radim Pesko’s Paabo almost have the same intrinsic quality as Megazoid, except for less rounded corners. Nuform’s Ozik acts as a cousin instead, reducing a few of its display characteristics while retaining those cute punch-hole counters. And if you want a similar all-caps design that is so bold with almost no white space at all, Perfora by In-House International or Kiosk by Nguyen Gobber might suit you.
Understandably, the creative process for some of these fonts is based on other inspirations. Nevertheless, we can still see there is a progressive change from thinner Brutalist typefaces to fatter ones. With the change being so natural, I can’t help but wonder whether these cut-out types were subconsciously made with such type trends in mind.
Whether or not you love a brutally-cut font, these chunky, clip-py displays are here to stay. Get yourself some inspiration for your next type/design project by clicking on the hyperlinks in this article!