designing a new Bodoni ...

jason vandenberg's picture

if you we're to design a new Bodoni type family, would you include the condensed and poster variants?

HVB's picture

Or how about the forty or fifty other possibilities? I don't understand the question at all.

jason vandenberg's picture

I'm debating if the condensed mutations belong with a contemporary revival of the original Bodoni family.

Nick Shinn's picture

It depends how authentic you want to be.

More importantly, I think you need a fresh idea first.
When ITC Bodoni was created, the ideas were optical scaling and facsimile, not cleaning up.
Recently, Karloff adresses “Bodoni” and Italian as Jekyll and Hyde.
When I did Bodoni Egyptian, that was steampunk.
Yo is arguably the last word in “Bodoni” horizontal proportioning.

What’s your idea?

hrant's picture

Contemporary + Bodoni = ?!

hhp

charles ellertson's picture

Well, a nice Bodoni Book would be welcome. Here's how you start: don't look at any drawings. Instead, go find some books printed letterpress, set in 10 to 12 point, that you think good. You know, where the lower-case "o" isn't just a pair of tiny parentheses with a maybe mistaken hairline joining them?

Now, make it look like that, at least in terms of stroke contrast, when printed offset on uncoated stock (try Glatfelter's Natures Natural), where the plate was made directly from the typesetting file.

In fact, a very useful Bodoni Book project would be a roman and italic, one for coated papers, one for uncoated. The stroke contrast is just that important with Bodoni. Far as I'm concerned, they could share a semibold, if you feel that necessary.

Otherwise, I'm with HVB -- the 40 or 50 Bodoni's we already have are good enough, condensed or otherwise.

jason vandenberg's picture

thanks guys, this is great.
Nick I've loved your Bodoni Egyptian, I'll keep searching for my twist.
Charles the book idea is great, I'll keep that in mind.

Nick Shinn's picture

Thanks Jason!
Good luck (serendipity, whatever) in coming up with the original idea. I don’t mean to be harsh by saying “What’s your idea?”—it may be that by just doodling and drawing something good will emerge. Looking at the didone in Karloff, it’s very nicely and quietly drawn, quite apart from its relationship with its ugly twin.

John Hudson's picture

With regard to Charles' Bodoni Book idea, I've also thought that this would be a useful thing to have. I admire ITC Bodoni as a kind of archaeological exercise, but think it captures too much of the artefacts of a particular technology (printing from metal types). I'd like to see similar attention to the weights and proportions of Bodoni's original types but translated into cleaner forms representative of and suited to today's technologies.

As Charles says, the hairline contrast in Bodoni really recommends differing fonts for different output/paper conditions, or something like 'grades' as used in newspaper typography.

Nick Shinn's picture

There are so many Bodonis, you can do that already, sort of.
e.g. Bauer Bodoni for display, Berthold for body.

charles ellertson's picture

Nick, Mary Mendell (now retired & making rather nice etchings) & I tried to get Berthold Bodoni (Antiqua) to work for a number of projects. It was always "not quite" -- the contrast is not correct for the way these books are printed. (2400 dpi / direct to plate / offset press)

[Shameless plug for Mary] http://mmartwork.squarespace.com/galleries

I actually made up a Bodoni Book starting from a Linotype roman & Monotype italic digital version (yes Hrant, all purchased under the old, old Adobe license). It was useful, and a couple of those books did wind up in book shows, but I never felt it was really any good. A case of "Well, that's better than anything we have" rather than "That's good."

And that's not good. It would be tough, but do-able, I think. Question is whether or not there would be a market. As a typesetter who sells services, I figured designers would just use something else, which is why I never took it any farther.

hrant's picture

So like I was saying :-) can this thing be both contemporary and authentic? The "fresh idea" that Nick speaks of is the only thing that can make it the former (hence much more marketable) but it necessarily makes it not the latter.

BTW Charles, I've never doubted your ethics.

hhp

jason vandenberg's picture

Nick, I took no offence. I agree that a new idea has to be at the core of this kind of project.
hrant, the contemporary aspect was geared towards what charles is saying about modern printing methods. I think you can be authentic to the original concept of Bodoni's contrast while being contemporary with the technology we have today.

Jens Kutilek's picture

Have you already seen this recent project, «The Parmigiano Type System»? http://www.compulsivebodoni.com/?page_id=2

It’s a Bodoni revival with several optical sizes, as well as an Egytian, Sans and Typewriter style. I haven’t read closely enough so I can’t say if the fonts are actually available ;)

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I'd love to see a modern/didone that works well in text, but not a Bodoni. I would make smth new instead!

jason vandenberg's picture

jens, yes I have, but i can't seem to find the fonts either. it's very cool.

hrant's picture

Wow, they even revived Bodoni's Armenian?! Compulsive is an under-statement! :-)

Jason, have you tried contacting them?

hhp

jason vandenberg's picture

just awaiting a response.

jason vandenberg's picture

in general are there any other bodoni/didone related design issues or desires that may be brought to life in a new face? I really appreciate the insight of designing a good book face.

hrant's picture

One thing that's been rolling around in my head for a while now is that the non-alphabetics of Didone fonts often don't work well. This might be because people have had trouble properly detaching them from chirography (the virtual "painting" of letterforms via the hand using an imaginary marking tool). For example look at the circumflex -and the discussion surrounding it- here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/martinmajoor/8224390209/

More significantly, numerals in Didone fonts often don't follow the logic (with Didones being essentially about logic, even if, yes, you can still write them with certain marking tools manipulated a certain way) of the alphabetics. And I personally think straight quote marks work better than "correct" curly ones in such designs.

So maybe your design can stand out by treating the non-alphabetics in a newer (specifically more ideologically robust) way. That would be contemporary. Or at least not archaic.

hhp

jason vandenberg's picture

hhp, that contrasted circumflex is beautiful!
I think I see what your talking about with the numerals in looking at ITC Bodoni 72, the 5 and 7 horizontal strokes are thick while the verticals are thin, which logically I think is backwards. Is this what you mean?
thank you, these are perfect elements to include.

j.

Nick Shinn's picture

Other issues: “Bodoni” was much used in the 20th century as a body face in a somewhat bold version.
The “Book” version was a reaction to that.
If so many people were satisfied with that bold body text look, it must have had some merit worth investigating and understanding from our present day perspective.

hrant's picture

Jason, that thin-thick circumflex could indeed be seen as beautiful of its own, but my contention is actually that it doesn't fit the Didone ideology. One that's symmetrical, with a thick join and thinning ends (or maybe even the other way around) makes more sense to me.

Concerning the numerals: they have "funny" contrast because they come from Eastern writing systems. On some level making them feel different than the alphabetics can make sense, but -again- in a Didone that doesn't click for me. I would prefer to see "rationalist" numerals where the stroke thickness matches that of the alphabetics. There are surprisingly few people who do this: Catich, Harvey, Bouwsma... and yours truly. :-) BTW see this thread: http://typophile.com/node/99144

Also concerning numerals, when it comes to old-styles ones (that extend above/below a horizontal band) there's a nice old French twist (which I actually find more functional, since it causes numeral strings to sit vertically more in-line with the alphabetics) where the "3" and "5" sit high, not low. See just past the half-way point here: http://fontfeed.com/archives/figuring-out-numerals-the-sequel/

BTW, if you're liking this line of development take a long, close look at the Romain du Roi.

Nick, I agree that that sort of thing deserves investigation, but to me popularity isn't necessarily conducive to functionality.

hhp

jason vandenberg's picture

nick, i'll investigate the bolder book weight, its an interesting perspective.
hhp, i get the circumflex now. And the examples of the 5's are exactly what i had in mind, I agree they would make more sense.
thank you guys these are a lot of useful areas to explore. Part of my reasoning for this project is to learn, and I feel even if I don't actually create a Bodoni inspired face, I will have a broader base of knowledge for future projects. thanks again.

j.

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