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Bodoni and non-Latin scripts

An opening from a book printed by Giambattista Bodoni, where use of a non-Latin script (Hebrew) is evidentAn opening from a book printed by Giambattista Bodoni, where use of a non-Latin script (Hebrew) is evidentThe book featured here, which is an example of the work of the Italian typographer, type setter, designer and printer Giambattista Bodoni (1740-1813), is a bibliography of Hebrew literature.

It demonstrates Bodoni’s aptitude for printing non-Latin scripts, for which he was renowned.

He was much sought-after: his employers included the Vatican and Joachim Murat, Napoleon’s brother-in-law.

In 1768, the Duke of Parma requested him to start and manage the royal printing press, under which auspices this book was printed. He produced much of his best work for the duke, including prized editions of classical literature.

Bodoni was inspired by John Baskerville. Like Baskerville, he used wide margins and employed little or no typographical ornament. He and Firmin Didot evolved a style called ‘New Face’, in which the letters are cut in such a way as to produce a strong contrast between the thick and thin parts of their body. 

The typeface which is shown here is one of the many which he designed, all of them characterised by elegance and simplicity.

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