Bon Anniversaire, Jean-Luc!
Our favourite director turns EIGHTY, and we want to celebrate (with) him, with everyone.
HAve always been in love with the title sequence lettering to Godard's movies Made in U.S.A. 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. Voilà!
We didn’t find out who originally made the lettering for these two movies. 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. They are almost a self-sufficient entity, another character in the movie, another comment.
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; this lettering comes from the street:
We can not prove this at all, 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. 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 these quotidien lettering style, as it would seem to fit Godard’s obsession with vernacular typography.
We learned about the PDU through Eric Kindel’s article in Typography Papers 7. In 2009, then-Werkplaats Typografie student Dries Wiewauters surprised us with a revival of the Plaque Découpée Universelle.
Below, the JeanLuc alphabet (white) and the PDU alphabet (blue), to show similarities and differences.
You can get the typeface right here, in two styles, for Desktop and Web use:
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"The Jean-Luc typeface was designed and made by Atelier Carvalho Bernau on the occasion of the 80th birthday of Jean-Luc Godard. It is available free of charge from http://www.carvalho-bernau.com/jlg/
Jean-Luc typeface Copyright (c) 2010 Atelier Carvalho Bernau"
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Ok, that's all we wanted to say. Thanks for reading. Bon anniversaire, Jean-Luc!
Typeface design, website design and art direction: Atelier Carvalho Bernau. Design intern: Bernd Volmer. Web programming: Dan Powers. Technical consultant: Type Supply.
Further reading: Godard’s Intertitles by Andrea Hyde, on the Walker design blog; The ‘Plaque Découpée Universelle’: a geometric sanserif in 1870s Paris by Eric Kindel, in Typography Papers 7; Dries Wiewauter’s revival of the Plaque Découpée Universelle and his versions of the lettering they produce; the book Roger Excoffon et la fonderie Olive by S. Chamaret, J. Gineste, S. Morlighem; this video of Laura Forde’s presentation of her thesis Objects to be Read, Words to be Seen: Design and Visual Language in the Films of Jean-Luc Godard 1959–1967; and of course, Godard’s Made in U.S.A and 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle and their respective title sequences on YouTube: 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle, Made in U.S.A.