Poster Details: Jack and Jill

Jack and Jill

Bodoni + Futura

 [ Futura Std Book, Bodoni Std Roman ]

Jack and Jill, one of the great pairs in all of literature. The beautiful alliterative quality of their names. The naive innocence to the story, unwilling to foreshadow Jack’s impending struggles and the duo’s classic fall from grace. Okay, I know, it’s just a nursery rhyme about a brother and sister that are sent to do a chore and end up slipping and falling down a hill.

A pair with considerably better fortune are Bodoni and Futura. This typographic pairing is one of the few combinations on which everyone seems to agree. In the centuries after Gutenberg invented the printing press, typefaces had moved further and further away from the influence of handwriting. The culmination occurred when Italian Giambatista Bodoni designed the typeface that bears his name in about 1790. Bodoni was renowned for the quality of his printing (though his proofing left a little to be desired) and he was one of the more famous printers/typographers who was well-off financially. The typeface he created featured letterforms with extreme contrast between thick and thin strokes. He also gave the serif a hairline weight and did not transition the vertical stroke to the serif using a bracket, as typefaces had previously done. There is an elegance, exactness and a geometric quality about Bodoni that it shares with Futura. Futura was designed in 1927 by Paul Renner, during the New Typography movement of the 1920s. Germany was not only embroiled in arguing political ideologies, but also typographic ones. Many, including Renner, wanted Germany to move away from the traditional blackletter typestyles and embrace the san serif as the typeface for the modern era. Renner created a simple yet masterful design based on the circle and lines.

Interestingly, these two typefaces, well-used and easily recognizable, still enjoy great popularity today (just flip through a fashion magazine and look at the advertisements). I used them here to endow Jack and Jill with a dignity and sophistication that belies the fact that they are characters in a simple nursery rhyme.

Typefaces similar to Bodoni:
Didot, Filosofia, and Fenice. The version of Bodoni in the poster was designed by Morris Fuller Benton (for ATF, of course), from 1908 to 1915. Another renowned cut of Bodoni is Bauer Bodoni.

Typefaces Similar to Futura:
Century Gothic (which to me is vastly inferior to Futura), Avant Garde Bothic Pro

The Poem:
Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.

Up got Jack, and home did trot
As fast as he could caper
He went to bed and bound his head
With vinegar and brown paper.

Meggs’ History of Graphic Design
by Philip Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, 4th edition, published by J Wiley & Sons.
Type: The Secret History of Letters by Simon Loxley, First Edition, published by I. B. Tauris.

For the poem: Jack and Jill

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