Hooray! Into our new “TYP “category we dedicate some new contents. Every months we will create a new insights about fonts and typefaces. We starting with something very cool. The Didot typefaces.

Didot is a group of typefaces named after the famous French printing and type producing Didot family. The classification is known as modern, or Didone. Didot’s type is absolutely not contemporary design. For example the Code civil des Français, printed by the company of Firmin Didot was out in 1804. However, it is absolutely in use today especially for fashion brands, cosmetics products, magazines, and so. The Didot typefaces has some hairline elements in it that can disappear it smaller sizes, but it is nonetheless a high contrast, modern serif winner that is an important addition to the font lovers arsenal. In one word: “fashionable”.

The Didot family were French publishers and type-founders who had a dramatic influence over the history of typography. François Didot (1689–1759) went into business as a printer and bookseller in Paris in 1713. Three successive generations kept the firm flourishing into the 19th century. Under François’s elder son, François-Ambroise (1730–1804), the Didot point system of 72 points to the French inch became the standard unit of type measurement, as it remains today. François-Ambroise changed the standard of type design by increasing the contrast between thick and thin letters. Didot’s system was based on Pierre Simon Fournier’s (1712–1768), but Didot modified Fournier’s by adjusting the base unit precisely to a French Royal inch (pouce), as Fournier’s unit was based on a less common foot.

In Didot’s point system:

  • 1 point = 1⁄6 ligne = 1⁄72 French Royal inch = 15 625⁄41 559 mm ≤ 0.375 971 510 4 mm, however in practice mostly: 0.376 000 mm, i.e. + 0.0076%.Both in Didot’s and Fournier’s systems, some point sizes have traditional names such as Cicero (before introduction of point systems, type sizes were called by names such as Cicero, Pica, Ruby, Long Primer, etc.).
  • 1 cicero = 12 Didot points = 1⁄6 French Royal inch = 62 500⁄13 853 mm ≤ 4.511 658 124 6 mm, also in practice mostly: 4.512 000 mm, i.e. + 0.0076%.

  • François-Ambroise’s sons, Pierre (1761–1853) and Firmin (1764–1836) took charge of the printing and typefounding, respectively. Pierre published acclaimed editions of French and Latin classics, and Firmin designed the Didot typeface. Thei books are awarded a gold medal at the industrail exhibition in Paris. Pierre’s prints were set exclusively in his brother Firmin’s typefaces until 1809. In the same year they open their own type foundry and in 1818 they aquires over 3000 original Punches of Basckerville’s typefaces.

    Imprimerie Firmin-Didot ), based in Mesnil-sur-l’Estrée (in the Haute-Normandie region), is still active in the 21st century. Property belongs to the industrial industry CPI, number one in Europe in monochrome printing. https://goo.gl/vzejq3