Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the bold Didone elegance of Magnel

The Didone has quietly experienced something of a revival in recent years… A splicing of the surnames of French typefounder Didot and the Italian print pioneer Bodoni, Didones are typified by very heavy vertical strokes and ultra-fine horizontal lines, and barely-there hairline serifs.

Didot and Bodoni developed their typefaces independently in the mid-19th century, but the boom in travel brought about by the steam age meant both were soon in common usage across the whole of Europe, fast becoming a staple part of the neoclassical aesthetic. Before every foundry had their own take on the Didone form, and the family soon became so commonplace as to be taken for granted.

It wasn’t until a century later that the Chauncey H. Griffith decided to update Bodoni for large-format use, emphasising the verticals to an excessive degree in his Poster Bodoni, of which the current plentiful crop of ultra-heavy, design-friendly Didones are direct descendants.

To Magnel then, which first emerged in 2011 from the hand of Lithuanian designer Eimantas Paškonis. The font is a contemporary, almost relaxed take on the Didone shape with more space in the counters (the empty holes in letter like “o” or “d”) and shorter descending elements (e.g the tail of a lower-case “g”). It also boasts some lovely ligatures, cheeky OpenType swash variants for any characters at the end of a line, and nicely implemented ball terminals (check out the lower case “f” in particular!). Magnel looks great at large sizes, and lends itself perfectly to typographic posters, headlines or most other display usage.

Inspiration and musical soundtrack this week is Bret and Germaine’s Masterclass in back-handed compliments.

Magnel may be purchased from the MyFonts store, which also features lots more examples of the font in use.


Fonts: Magnel (Eimantas Paškonis)