Revolutionary styles (to locate them by time)
Modern: Bodoni Book
These are type styles of the late 1700s and early 1800s, although their influence remains. To call them Modern, as most of the schools do, is silly. They are 200 years old. To call them Romantic (as Bringhurst does) is equally strange for they are cold fish. They are the natural expression of the radical, revolutionary intellectualism of the period. They are built with hard, tightly structured letterforms which push out the emotional, warm, comfortable type of the Old Style fonts, replacing it with spiky, carved, structured forms.
- Serifs lose all bracketing: becoming thin, horizontal lines no thicker than the hairline strokes
- The aperture is shut down
- The axis is rigidly vertical
- Extreme stroke modulation
Bodoni is often seen grouped together with the Frenchman Didot. But Didot’s shapes were rigidly intellectual whereas, Bodoni favored Rococo ornament, slight bracketing of the serifs in the larger sizes and a much better sense of design. These fonts can be very beautiful, but never comfortable. Baskerville led into this but it is still a very conservative, old style font when compared to these. Most touches of humanity are cleaned out of these styles. The best you can do is think of a severe elegance—a cold formality. The ornaments seem strangely attached to this font style.
Art historically speaking these fonts are associated with the rococo, as mentioned. It is hard to reconcile the tightly controlled, rigidly refined shapes of Bodoni with the fashionable stylistic excesses and asymmetrical designs found in the Rococo.
- Signore Giambattista Bodoni, Justus Erich Walbaum and Dr Giovanni Mardersteig (stoneletters.wordpress.com)
- ITC Fenice (thegreatestgra217blog.wordpress.com)