A birthday present for Godard

Today is Jean-Luc Godard’s 80th birthday. To honour their hero, design studio Atelier Carvalho Bernau has created the Jean-Luc typeface which is available for free from their website

Today is Jean-Luc Godard’s 80th birthday. To honour their hero, design studio Atelier Carvalho Bernau has created the Jean-Luc typeface which is available for free from their website

“Our favourite director, Jean-Luc Godard, turns 80 today, and we want to celebrate (with) him, with everyone,” say the studio’s Susana Carvalho and Kai Bernau. “We were always in love with the title sequence lettering to Godard’s movies Made in USA [see below] and 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle. So as an hommage to Jean-Luc, to the Nouvelle Vague, to Seberg, Karina, Faithfull & Cie., we present you our Jean-Luc typeface, as a birthday gift for everyone. Voilá!”

The typeface is based on the lettering used in the title sequences for the films. “We didn’t find out who originally made the lettering for these two movies,” they say. “Some speculate it could have been Godard himself – Godard’s interest in graphic design and typography is clear, with many of his other films employing such strong typography-only titles and intertitles.”

“This style of lettering is so interesting to us because it is such a clear renunciation of the ‘pretty’, classical title screens that were common in that time’s more conservative films. It has a more vernacular and brutishly low-brow character.”

“We cannot prove this, but we think it may be derived from the stencil letters of the Plaque Découpée Universelle, a lettering device invented in the 1870s by a certain Joseph A David, and first seen in France at the 1878 Exposition Universelle, where it found broad appeal and rapid adoption [see above, the Jean-Luc font is in white, PDU in blue]. We think this style of lettering was absorbed into the public domain vernacular of French lettering, and that the 2 ou 3 choses titles are derived from this style, as it would seem to fit Godard’s obsession with vernacular typography.”

You can download the font here

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