picture of G. Bodoni

Bodoni is a series of serif typefaces designed by Italian typographer, type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher Giambattista Bodoni in 1798. This typeface is classified as Didone modern. The term Didone is a melding of Didot and Bodoni. The first Modern typeface is attributed to Frenchman Firmin Didot and was first introduced in 1784. These two typefaces are considered the most characteristic typeface designs of this era.

Didones are characterized by:

  1. Extreme contrasts of thick and thin strokes
  2. Abrupt, unbracketed, thin serifs
  3. Vertical axis
  4. Horizontal stress
  5. Small aperture

Some of Bodoni’s earlier designs are considered transitional. But by the end of his career, his designs are categorized as modern having flat, unbracketed serifs, an extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes and an overall geometric construction.

Bodoni was inspired by the typefaces created by both John Baskerville and Firmin Didot. Inspired by Baskerville he increased the stroke contrast and added a more vertical and condensed uppercase and exaggerated them. He and Didot evolved a style of type called “New Face”. In New Face, the letters are cut in a way to produce those extreme contrasts between the thin and thin strokes that Didone modern typefaces are known for.

Since Bodoni was inspired by the designs of Didot, the two typefaces are very similar. But there are also notable differences. The first notable difference is that Didot is larger than Bodoni. So at the same point size, Didot will look larger than Bodoni. The second notable difference between the two typefaces are the serifs. On a number of the letters in Bodoni, the serifs are slightly curved at the top. In Didot, all of the serifs are straight and are at 90 degree angles. The third difference is in the thickness of the serifs. The serifs in Didot are noticably thinner than in Bodoni.