Giambattista Bodoni, an obsessive-compulsive punch-cutter
Giambattista Bodoni (1740–1813) was the Director of the Royal Printing House of Parma from 1768 until the end of his life. During those years he produced precious and beautiful books; the title pages he designed are considered to be monuments of neoclassical art and some of the finest achievements in the history of the book.
Besides his formidable work as typographer, compositor, printer, and publisher, Bodoni was also the most prolific punchcutter in history. In the 1840 inventory compiled by his widow, his typographic material comprised 25,491 punches and 50,283 matrices. Such a number of steel punches cut by hand represents a truly huge effort and to say that Bodoni was an obsessive-compulsive punchcutter is no exaggeration.
A tribute to Bodoni: the Parmigiano Typographic System
In 2013, to mark the bicentenary of Bodoni’s death, designers Riccardo Olocco and Jonathan Pierini are going to publish the Parmigiano Typographic System with the ambition of being the most extended family of fonts ever to have been inspired by the great Italian punchcutter.
A preview of Parmigiano was presented at the Faculty of Design and Arts of the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano (Unibz Design Festival), where an exhibition was set up to display specimens in the shape of a typographic manual, texts, maps, and wall hangings.
The unconventional Compulsive Bodoni project
The exhibition, which took place in September 2012, was introduced by a short theatrical piece dedicated to Giambattista Bodoni, written and interpreted by the authors and actors Matteo Carlomagno and Mirko Ciorciari to celebrate the bicentenary of his death. Compulsive Bodoni is the title of this little play which dramatizes certain aspects of Bodoni’s personality.
Compulsive Bodoni also became the name of the project designed to communicate the Parmigiano Typographic System, dedicated to the punchcutter/printer who spent most of his life in Parma.
In the run-up to the release of Parmigiano, from early 2013, the Compulsive Bodoni project introduces the font and follow its development with a series of multi-media events such as short clips, musical compositions, and graphic exhibitions.
All material concerning the Compulsive Bodoni project is being assembled on this website, available for experts, scholars, and enthusiasts.