History of Design: Writing to Typography Reflection – Bodoni typeface

Bodoni is an Italian serif typeface belonging to the modern typeface family along with Didot. It was designed by and named after Giambattista Bodoni, an expert printer, typographer and publisher who lived in Parma. He drew inspiration from John Baskerville, who invented the Baskerville typeface, and made exaggerated changes to the typeface to create his own.

The Bodoni typeface has a few distinct characteristics. The first one is that it has an extremely high contrast between thick and thin strokes, which has become a defining trait of modern typefaces. The second one is that due to this high contrast, the typeface produces an effect called ‘dazzle’, which causes the text to be rather difficult to read. This effect is even more prominent when the font is reduced to smaller sizes, causing the hairline strokes of the typeface to recede. Hence, it is recommended for this font to be used mainly for titles.

Here are some examples of Bodoni in use, such as:

a book cover,

Image source: https://www.kehrerverlag.com/en/cj-clarke-magic-party-place-978-3-86828-689-2

a magazine ad,

Image Source: https://fontsinuse.com/uses/6962/gilbey-s-vodka-ad-in-playboy-magazine

and a factory signboard.

Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeclark/11404324804/

Display image source: https://www.fonts.com/font/linotype/bodoni