Bodoni Typeface

The typeface I picked was Bodoni. Bodoni typeface was named after, Giamattista Bodoni its creator. He was an “expert printer who ran a printing-office under the Duke of Parma” (Janee Evans). The design of the typeface was made to showcase “his company’s work in metal-casting, printing and of the paper made in Parma” (Janee Evans). “Bodoni’s desire was a type which was suitable for contemporary times rather than the age of scribe. Instead of the stroke of the pen, his inspiration was the mathematical precision and delicate hairline strokes characteristic of copperplate engraving, which was very popular at the time” (Family Classification of Type). It was designed in the late eighteenth century but has been revised frequently. He got inspiration from John Baskerville and studied French type founders Pierre Simon and Frimin Didot. Though he was inspired and studied other typefaces, Bodoni typeface was his own style.

She does not know
her beauty,
she thinks her brown body
has no glory – No Images, William Waring Cuney

There are five characteristics used to identify Bodoni typeface. The first characteristic is “high and abrupt contrast between thick and thin strokes. The second would be abrupt (unbracketed) hairline (thin) serifs. The third characteristic is the vertical axis. Next would be the horizontal stress. The last characteristic would be small aperture” (Janee Evans). There are versions of Bodoni Typeface that are hard to read. This is because of the “alternating of thick and thin strokes, mainly as the thin strokes are very thin at small point sizes” (Janee Evans).

When Bodoni Typeface was first released, it was known as a classical design because of the rational structure. It then became known as a “modern serif font. Bodoni typeface has been used for a wide variety of different materials”. (Janee Evans). It was used in Italian Books in the eighteenth century and periodicals in the 1960s. It was used in advertising and books in the 21st century. For example, it was used in the Mamma Mia poster and the Nirvana logo.

The reason I picked Bodoni Typeface, is because I’ve seen versions of it in logos and advertising. Bodoni Typeface was used in Bruce Springsteen’s Born In The U.S.A cover. I also like the look of the typeface; the contrast between the thick and thin strokes. I could see how it could be hard to read. The variation in strokes can make the letters look weird.

Work Cited:

“Bodoni in Use.” Fonts in Use,

Evans, Janee. “Typeface History: Bodoni.” Medium, Medium, 14 Sept. 2016,

Families of Type,

William Waring Cuney. “No Images”. Storefront Church. Paul Breman Limited, 1973.

2 thoughts on “Bodoni Typeface”

  1. Oooh, it’s fascinating how a late-18th century typeface like Bodoni, one that was famous for its founder’s rendering of Homer’s Iliad, could be the one that we associate with the look of Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA! Great font, great post. You are right to mention the contrast…Bodoni is called a “didone” font, one that is marked by increased contrast between heavy and light strokes. I like how the font “glories” on its body in this contrast, as the poet glories on the subject’s “brown body” in the line you “set.”


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