11 Facts About Bodoni


Bodoni is the name given to the serif typefaces first designed by Giambattista Bodoni in the late eighteenth century and frequently revived since.

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Bodoni followed the ideas of John Baskerville, as found in the printing type Baskerville—increased stroke contrast reflecting developing printing technology and a more vertical axis—but he took them to a more extreme conclusion.

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Bodoni had a long career and his designs changed and varied, ending with a typeface of a slightly condensed underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs, extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, and an overall geometric construction.

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Some digital versions of Bodoni are said to be hard to read due to "dazzle" caused by the alternating thick and thin strokes, particularly as the thin strokes are very thin at small point sizes.

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Massimo Vignelli stated that "Bodoni is one of the most elegant typefaces ever designed.

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Bodoni admired the work of John Baskerville and studied in detail the designs of French type founders Pierre Simon Fournier and Firmin Didot.

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Bodoni took care in the composition of his printing, using hierarchy and borders to create an appearance of elegance, and his range of type sizes allowed him flexibility of composition.

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The manner in which Mr Bodoni gives his works their beautiful smoothness, so that no impression of the letters is perceptible on either side, is the only part of his business that he keeps secret.

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Optical sizes were a natural requirement of printing technology at the time of Bodoni, who had to cut each size of type separately, but declined as the pantograph, phototypesetting and digital fonts made printing the same font at any size simpler; a revival has taken place in recent years as automated font development has become possible.

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Zuzana Licko's Filosofia is considered by some to be a revival of Bodoni, but it is a highly personal, stylish, and stylized spinoff, rather than a revival.

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Poster Bodoni is a variant created for posters, designed by Chauncey H Griffith in 1929.

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