Name: Campari Bold
Designer: Philipp Herrmann with Landor Milano
Foundry: Out of the Dark
Release Date: April 2018
Back Story: Drinkers tend to have strong opinions about Campari, the bitter scarlet aperitif whose secret recipe lists over 60 natural ingredients—including herbs, spices, barks, fruit peel, and carmine red dye obtained from cochineal beetles. (Vegans and those who keep kosher, rejoice: the color now comes from a lab. No beetles were harmed during the making of your cocktail.) It’s a polarizing beverage. Upon tasting Campari for the first time, typical reactions range from “Why are we drinking cough syrup?” to “Barkeep, top me up!”
Campari with a wedge of pink grapefruit or long twist of orange peel and a splash of soda smoothes the edges of lazy August afternoons without causing total intoxication—whether you’re lounging on the Riviera or collapsed at a grimy outdoor café in the East Village. Campari the company also happens to have a visual branding history every bit as classy as its product. It should come as no surprise that when design agency Landor Milan began working on a rebrand for Gruppo Campari in 2017, they reached out to graphic designer Philipp Herrmann to create a custom headline font for use throughout all of the company’s communications.
Why’s it called Campari Bold? Like the aperitif, it’s named after Italy’s Gaspare Campari, who first introduced the striking red beverage in 1860.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? All-cap Campari Bold features extended proportions and small, sharp serifs similar to ATF’s best-selling typeface Copperplate. The pointed terminals of letters like C G J K Q R S draw influence from early 20th century hand-lettered posters from Campari’s rich design history.
Alternate long-tail characters (K L Q R T X Z) mix playfully with superior and inferior characters (A to Z) and provide plenty of creative design opportunities. At the same time, these letter combinations function as space-saving “shortcuts,” always a useful feature. Punctuation marks are gutsy and forceful, and the letters have a confident swoop and curve reined in by crisp serifs and strong diagonals.
What should I use it for? Emphatic headlines of all sorts—this one is not shy. “Provide it with enough space to reveal its full potential,” says Herrmann. “Give it a principal role. When you do, the effect is captivating.”
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? “It works best on its own,” says the designer, “but the rebranding uses it with GT Eesti Light Text—a smart choice that reflects the pointy endings of Campari Bold within its ink traps and in general doesn’t get in the way.” For an unexpected twist, Campari also pairs nicely with tech-y typefaces such as OCR-A.