New release: Caponi by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz

RELEASES | 13 FEBRUARY 2014
01caponi dispslab 910 xxx q87

Most contemporary revivals of Giambattista Bodoni’s work have focused almost entirely on the elegant, high-contrast types that he cut in the early part of the nineteenth century. Caponi expands the notion of what Bodoni’s work was. Though it draws a bit on his later work, particularly in the uppercase, Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz decided to take as their primary reference the typefaces Bodoni cut during the early years of his career, when he had been greatly influenced by the Rococco style of the French printer and punchcutter Pierre Simon Fournier.

The three families of Caponi each play a different role while complementing each other. Though lower contrast than other contemporary Bodoni revivals, Caponi Display follows Bodoni’s approach to weight and contrast, with long, elegant ascenders and descenders. As a traditional Modern with relatively high contrast, it is ideal for headline typography. Caponi Slab, on the other hand, is low contrast throughout, culminating in a punchy Black weight, useful for large and expressive display typography, while also being robust enough for subheads, pull quotes, and other small display uses. Caponi Display and Caponi Slab are similar in their lightest weights, but as the two families get heavier, they depart quickly into two very different approaches to weight and contrast. Caponi Text is a more faithful interpretation of Bodoni’s early work, capturing the unexpected warmth of his romans and the quirks of the italics, with mismatched terminal shapes and subtly varying serifs.




02caponi compare 765 xxx q87
05caponi ew 1 607 xxx q87
06caponi ew 2 588 xxx q87
07caponi ew 3 598 xxx q87
08caponi ew 4 717 xxx q87

The late Amid Capeci, for whom the family is named, commissioned Caponi Slab for headline typography in 2010 for his twentieth anniversary revamp of Entertainment Weekly. A wide range of topics could potentially end up on the cover of the magazine from week to week, from high-minded Oscar movies, to controversial pop stars, to gleefully trashy reality television, so the family needed to cover many tones in one cohesive range of weights. The solution was a spectrum from elegance to exuberance: the lightest weights clearly show their origin in Bodoni’s work, but the family transforms into a boisterous slab serif as it gains weight. Caponi Slab’s short ascenders and descenders allow it to work with tight leading, and its low contrast helps it to hold its own on the page no matter the size. 

03caponi text small 727 xxx q87
04caponi text big 727 xxx q87

Since the primary source for the project was Bodoni’s text types, the later addition of a text version was a logical idea. Caponi Text, drawn by Barnes and Schwartz with help from Commercial Type designer Miguel Reyes, is unusual among contemporary interpretations of Bodoni not just in focusing on Bodoni’s earliest work, but also in fully embracing the inconsistencies and unevenness of the source material. The warm, inviting tone of Caponi Text expands the notion of how a Bodoni can feel on the page. While preserving many eccentricities, it also make concessions to contemporary taste, so a more traditional lowercase s, with serifs rather than ball terminals, is available as an alternate. 

09caponi ba 1 390 xxx q87
10caponi ba 2 786 xxx q87
11caponi ba 3 730 xxx q87
12caponi ba 4 755 xxx q87
13caponi ba 5 693 xxx q87
14caponi ba 6 732 xxx q87
15caponi ba 7 764 xxx q87

In addition to the ongoing use of Caponi Slab in Entertainment Weekly, the Display and Slab can be seen together in Bon Appétit, where the two different kinds of contrast complement one another in the dense, complex, and high-energy Starters section in the front of the book, and the family helps to anchor special packages like 2013's "50 Best Restaurants in the USA".

PUBLICATIONS, CUSTOM TYPEFACES | 1 SEPTEMBER 2010

Caponi for Entertainment Weekly

Caponi was designed by Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz for a subtle tweak of Entertainment Weekly on the occasion of the magazine's 20th anniversary. Commissioned by (and named for) design director Amid Capeci, Caponi is based very loosely on some of Giambattista Bodoni's earliest types.
READ MORE
Img 5765 384 xxx q87