Posted 3:29 PM by Philippa Hoey in
Giambattista Bodoni

Giabattista Bodoni was born on the 16th February 1740 in Saluzzo, Piedmont Italy. He was the son of a printer. Bodoni had done his first studies at the Regio Collegio Saluzzese. He died on the 29 of November 1813 at the age of 73 in Parma, Italy.

Giabattista was known as an engraver, type designer, typographer, printer and publisher. By 1780s Giabattista designed a typeface called BODONI and it has been regarded as to be one of the first modern typefaces. He moved on to making another 2 main innovations in type design: he gave a vertical alignment to the sloped swellings in the bowls of the letters that derive from the down strokes in handwriting; he made all the horizontal serifs on the upper and lower parts of the letters very thin and uniform; and he increased the contrast between stems and serifs (Quoted-Art Encyclopedia- Grove Art, Oxford University Press). According to the Columbia Electronic encyclopedia Giabattista was regarded as one of the leaders in originating pseudoclassical typefaces.

At the age of 18, Giabattista moved to Rome and was employed as a typesetter at the Vatican's Propaganda Fide printing works; Giabattista had worked for the Vatican for almost 10 years. After battling Malaria, Bodoni was hired by the Duke Ferdinand of Bourbon - Parma to organise a printing house. This is where Bodoni got to work on a range of specimen books, which were very well received. Eventually Bodoni opened his own printing house called Officina Bodoni.

http://www.linotype.com/683/giambattistabodoni.html
http://www.media5live.com/Bodoni/bodonibio.htm#art
http://www.typeculture.com/academic_resource/articles_eassays/

From 1768 Bodoni ran a printing house called Stamperia Reale, in Parma, Italy. After a while doing this he opened his own printing house called Officina Bodoni.

Bodoni's Internet presence is minimal. There is not a lot of extensive information about his life: some can be found on wikipedia.com, linotype.com and other typography websites. His fonts can be downloaded from sites such as myfonts.com, fontshop.com, itcfonts.com and adobe.com.

Why and what made Bodoni famous
Whilst working in the Vatican's Propaganda Fide printing house in Rome, Bodoni impressed his superiors with a willingness to learn, he had a mastery of ancient languages and types.

Bodoni achieved an unprecedented level of technical refinement, allowing him to faithfully reproduce letterforms with very thin "hairlines".

Bodoni designed and personally engraved 298 typefaces.

Bodoni did away with old style letters and introduced a new clear simple type - the modern typeface. In his influential Manuale Tipografico of 1818, he laid down the four principles of type design, which were: regularity of chracters, cleanness, good taste and charm.

His master piece was Homer's Iliad.

Bodoni was the most successful early proponent of what is referred to as the "modern" typeface, distinguished by a strong contrast between thin and thick strokes.

His coldly elegant books where made to be admired for the typeface and layout and not to be studied or read. (Proof reading was not his strong point).
In his manuale tipografico (two volume works) contains about 142 roman alphabets, numerous script and exotic typefaces and a striking collection of flowers and ornaments.
Bodoni emphasized the use of good paper and strong ink.
Our opinions of Bodoni
Although Bodoni is regarded as a "modern typeface", I feel that Bodoni would be more suited to that of a display font and used sparingly. Although in saying this a combination of his typeface and ornaments would create a very clean piece of artwork.

I admire the use of thin and thick strokes throughout his type as I feel that this gives the type a unique definition.

Formal yet fun with thick and thin strokes.

Bodoni has created a classic type face with letters very thin and uniform; and he increased the contrast between stems and serifs.

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