FIRMIN DIDOT

French printer, engraver, and type founder

Biographical Information

Born: Paris, France - April 17, 1764

Died: Mesnil-sur-l'Estree, France - April 24, 1836


  • Born into a family of famous French printers and type founders, founded by his grandfather, Francois Didot

  • Didot family owned a large paper manufactory and their "House of Didot" became a popular pilgrimage site for printers

  • House of Didot became the chosen printers for the King of France

  • Firmin cut/cast type and his brother, Pierre, used them in printing

  • Retired in 1827, leaving his two sons to continue his business - he devoted himself to politics and literature

  • Firmin died at the age of 72 in 1836

"BOTH FULL AND THIN-BODIED. AN ATTRACTIVE BLEND OF DELICATE AND STRONG. MODERN, WITH VINTAGE ELEGANCE. CLASSIC AND REFINED."

DIDOT, THE TYPEFACE

Firmin Didot cut the first modern typeface, Didot, in 1784. The typeface remains France's greatest contribution to type design to date. It became the standard in France for almost a century after its introduction and is still widely used today.


Didot, as well as other typefaces designed by Firmin Didot, can be described with the following unifying characteristics:

  • prominent vertical stress
  • stark contrasts between thick and thin strokes
  • hairline serifs
  • fresh, modern, clean design
  • aesthetically pleasing and highly readable
  • classic, stylish

DIDOT FAMILY DESIGN PHILOSOPHY

  • creating clean, legible solutions
  • moving away from handwritten, calligraphic style
  • books: minimal decoration, large margins, simple borders
  • using an improved printing press to allow fine details to show


Didot

Modern fonts are sometimes referred to as "Didones" - these Didones create a large melting pot of the Didot and Bodoni typefaces

Stereotypography

Didot invented the process known as stereotypography - a stereotype is the metal printing plate created for the actual printing of pages. Because printers no longer had to print with multiple moveable pieces of type, the book trade was revolutionized. Editions could now be produced for much cheaper.


RECOGNIZABLE LOGOS UTILIZING DIDOT TYPEFACE

LE DIDOT - SHORT FILM UTILIZING DIDOT TYPEFACE

Le Didot

OTHER TYPEFACES CREATED BY FIRMIN DIDOT

  • Linotype Didot
  • Firmin Didot
  • Didot LP
  • Initiales Grecques