The Creation ofa Masterpiece
Giambattista was a master of the printers who lived in Parma, Italy. He shaped the typographic world and printing business like no other. Major advancements were made, but he also had a little secret of his own.
The Italian type designer, punchcutter and printer drew his influence from the Romains du Roi and the types of John Baskerville, for whom he showed great admiration. Throughout his life, Giambattista completed hundreds of typefaces. Some were well-crafted interpretations, others merely suitable for poster headlines or scraps.
He is known for revolutionising printing houses with a new technique for creating lead letters used in print. He found a way to print his unique letters, with very thin serifs, without leaving an imprint on the page.
His most well-known creation, is the Bodoni typeface. Bodoni even had very specific intentions for the font.
The unveiling of Bodoni's secret
You discovered the secret! Bodoni brought a new degree of perfection and delicacy to the printing process. 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 has kept a secret all these years…
It would radiateelegance
The Bodoni was intended for the most elegant scenes. It pairs well with elegant display imagery, and is useful for large scale logos. It's characters are clear & present on the reader's eyes, and instantly bring elegance to your messaging & brand.
It would be fit for thehighest classes
There is something about Italy that exudes luxury. It's in the air, something that reminds of diamonds, high couture and class. Giambattista was inspired by the Italian culture and brought this elegance into the Bodoni typeface.
As a romantic ®al typeface
The typeface was intended for romance, and this value was important for the evolution of Bodoni's use. Due to its timeless style, the Bodoni grows on to be a favourite of many fashion brands and upmarket magazines. The couture industry took over the Bodoni as a new house characteristic, as you can explore in Chapter 2.
And so thethe Bodoniwas created
With it's high contrast between thick and thin strokes, abrupt & hairline thin serifs and its vertical axis, the Bodoni was a brand new tool in the designers' skillset. Discover the characteristics below by tapping on the icons!
The Bodoni typeface was revolutionary because of its serifs. Giambattista no longer made use of connecting curves to the serif. Instead, he made use of very abrupt & hairline thin serifs, to create a very elegant and defined look.
The Bodoni has a very high contrast between the horizontal & vertical strokes. Due to this, the typeface looks very stiff, calm and in control. It also needs a lot of space, both white- and interline space, extra leading and generous margins. With this high contrast, it's best to pair the Bodoni with another font, but not a fussy one.
The Bodoni has very vertical letters. Since it interferes with the horizontal rhythm of long texts, it is not made to be a body text font. The letters tend to lead our eyes up and down instead of left to right, and thus work better as a display typeface.
While the Bodoni can look very elegant due to the regular, rational design and fine strokes, this also causes an effect known as "the dazzle." This dazzle, or legibility degradation, takes place because the thick verticals draw the reader's attention & cause them to struggle to concentrate on the other, much thinner strokes that define which letter is which.
Giambattista didn't leave the people empty handed when it came to styling the font. He himself stated the following about the Bodoni.
Bodoni on the Bodoni
Plenty of white space. And, generous line spacing. And, don't make the type size too miserly. Then you will be assured of a product fit for a king.
And as Giambattista intended, the Bodoni surely was
fit for a king