|Variations||Berthold Bodoni Antiqua
LTC Bodoni 175
|Shown here||ITC Bodoni Seventy Two|
Bodoni is a series of serif typefaces first designed by Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) in 1798. The typeface is classified as Didone modern. Bodoni followed the ideas of John Baskerville, as found in the printing type Baskerville: increased stroke contrast and a more vertical, slightly condensed, upper case; but took them to a more extreme conclusion. Bodoni had a long career and his designs evolved and varied, ending with a typeface of narrower underlying structure with flat, unbracketed serifs, extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes, and an overall geometric construction. Though these later designs are rightfully called "modern", the earlier designs are "transitional". 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. This only occurs when display versions are used at text sizes, and it is also true of much display type that is used at text sizes. Non-dazzling versions of Bodoni that are intended to be used at text size are "Bodoni Old Face", optimized for 9 points; ITC Bodoni 12 (for 12 points); and ITC Bodoni 6 (for 6 points).
Bodoni admired the work of John Baskerville and studied in detail the designs of French type founders Pierre Simon Fournier and Firmin Didot. Although he drew inspiration from the work of these designers, above all from Didot, no doubt Bodoni found his own style for his typefaces, which deservedly gained worldwide acceptance among printers.
Distinctive visual characteristics
Distinctive characteristics of this typeface include:
- Round dot over the letter i.
- Double storey a.
- The tail of the Q is centered under the letter.
- The J has a slight hook.
- There are two versions of R, one with a straight tail and one with a curved tail.
Foundry type revivals and variants
There have been many revivals of the Bodoni typeface; ATF Bodoni and Bauer Bodoni are two of the more successful.
- ATF's Bodoni series, was the first American revival of the face. All variants were designed by Morris Fuller Benton who captured the flavor of Bodoni’s original while emphasizing legibility rather than trying to push against the limits of printing technology.
- Bodoni (1909)
- Bodoni Italic (1910)
- Bodoni Book (1910)
- Bodoni Book Italic (1911)
- Bodoni Bold + Italic (1911)
- Bodoni Bold Shaded (1912)
- Bodoni Shaded Initials (1914)
- Card Bodoni (1915)
- Card Bodoni Bold (1917)
- Bodoni Open (1918)
- Bodoni Book Expanded (1924)
- Ultra Bodoni + italic (1928)
- Bodoni Bold Condensed (1933)
- Ultra Bodoni Condensed + extra condensed (1933)
- Engravers Bodoni (1933), designed in 1926.
- Bodoni #175 + italic (1911)
- Bodoni #375 + italic (1930), based on the Benton version.
- Recut Bodoni Bold + italic
- Bodoni Bold Condensed (Sol Hess, 1934)
- Damon Type Foundry offered a Bodoni under the name Bartlet.
- Linotype and Intertype also produced matrices for machine composition that were somewhat narrower than the fondry type versions.
- Haas Type Foundry produced a version which was then licenced to Stemple, Amsterdam Type Foundry, and Berthold.
- The Bauer Type Foundry version was drawn by Heinrich Jost in 1926. The Bauer version emphasizes the extreme contrast between hairline and main stroke. The series included the following weights:
- Bodoni Roman
- Bodoni Title
- Bodoni Bold
- Bodoni Italic
- Bodoni Italic Bold
Cold Type versions
As it had been a standard type for many years, Bodoni was widely available in cold type. Alphatype, Autologic, Berthold, Compugraphic, Dymo, Harris, Mergenthaler, MGD Graphic Systems, and Varityper, Hell AG, Monotype, all sold the face under the name Bodoni, while Graphic Systems Inc. offered the face as Brunswick and Star/Photon called their version BodoniStar.
Digital revivals include Bodoni Antiqua, Bodoni Old Face, ITC Bodoni Seventy Two, ITC Bodoni Six, ITC Bodoni Twelve, Bodoni MT, LTC Bodoni 175, WTC Our Bodoni, Bodoni EF, Bodoni Classico, and TS Bodoni. 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. Although intended to be usable at text sizes, it represents the early period of the designer's career when interletter spacing was yet to be conquered, so has found use primarily in advertising.
Digital Bodoni types
Digital Bodonis typically suffer from a particular kind of legibility degradation. Personal computers generate different sizes of type from a single font of type outlines using mathematical scaling, while printers working with metal type use fonts whose designs have been subtly adjusted to provide optical compensation for improved legibility at specific sizes—for example, opening up counters and expanding the character widths at small sizes. Typefaces like Bodoni tend to highlight these differences of technological application. Many digital revivals are based on designs adjusted for relatively large sizes, making the already thin hairlines very thin when scaled down. Some digital type designers are rediscovering the older lore of "optical scaling", and subsequently turning out more sensible revivals aimed at pleasing human eyes. The most extensive effort in this respect is Sumner Stone's version of Bodoni for three sizes (6 point, 12 point, 72 point): ITC Bodoni. Another important Bodoni optimized for book printing (9 point) is Günther Gerhard Lange's "Bodoni Old Face" from the Berthold library. Most other versions are best used at display sizes.
It is a variant designed for posters, designed by Chauncey H. Griffith.
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- Bodoni has been used for a wide variety of material, ranging from 18th century Italian books to 1960s periodicals. In the 21st century, the late manner versions continue to be used in advertising, while the early manner versions are occasionally used for fine book printing.
- Poster Bodoni is used in Mamma Mia! posters.
- Bodoni is one of the two typesets that is used by Hilton Hotels for restaurant or bar menu content.
- Nirvana's logo is written with Bodoni.
- Bauer Bodoni Black is used for Carnegie Mellon University's wordmark.
- Bauer Bodoni Roman is used for Brandeis University's wordmark.
- The text on Alice DeeJay's album Who Needs Guitars Anyway? is written in Poster Bodoni.
- Tom Clancy used Bodoni font for the artwork of all his affiliated works until his novel Dead or Alive.
- Lady Gaga's logotype is currently set in Bauer Bodoni with generous spacing.
- Bodoni was the favorite typeset of Ted Hughes, UK Poet Laureate, 1984–1998.
- Roman Bauer Bodoni is used in Slow Food's logotype
- Vogue Magazine uses Bodoni
Bodoni is the capital city of San Serriffe.
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