Back Story: Cardone got its start in 2016 as a student project at the EsadType postgraduate course in Amiens, France. Lázaro’s goal was to create an optimized type family for editorial use, striking a balance between aesthetic experimentation, functionality, and legibility.
During her research, she found herself drawn to the vertical stress, high contrast, and ball terminals of early Scottish modern typefaces, later called Scotch Romans. Her adaptation includes softer transitions and bracketed serifs that provide a broader, sturdier, more robust appearance for small running text while maintaining elegance.
Lázaro says, “The main challenge was to appropriate a certain tradition or particular historical reference and then detach myself from it; I was not trying to create a revival. It took around five years to develop the full family, working after hours and over holidays, with guidance from my beloved professors and fellow colleagues.”
Why’s it called Cardone? Its name is inspired by the prickly purple thistle, Scotland’s national emblem for over 500 years. The English word “thistle” comes from the Latin term Carduus, and Cardone follows from there.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Cardone strikes a balance between elegance and robustness: its ample curves contrast with the brutality of its lines and the verticality of the character axes. Its letters feature carefully-considered details, long terminals, geometric interior counters, and tapered stems. Each style is pushed to the point of extreme simplicity and efficiency, both in structure and in formal detail.
The typeface’s five weights from Thin to Bold, each with its own italic, were designed separately to emphasize the uniqueness of their design and create individually distinct personalities. The italic’s delicate, sinewy strokes, serifs, and long, fluid tails stand in opposition to the abrupt and rational forms of the Roman, and serve to create a kind of dynamism that lends a warmer tone to the text.
The family also features a Micro version, intended for settings smaller than eight points. “Micro was great fun and freer to draw,” says Lázaro. “Its forms are even more radical, mechanical and straightforward than those of the larger sizes.”
What should I use it for? Cardone was drawn mainly for use with running text and optimized for editorial design purposes. The designer says, “Use it for catalogs, monographs, independent magazines, or small self-initiated projects and publications in both digital and print. I want to be surprised by the projects that designers can create with my typeface.”
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? Cardone’s characters fit well with Grotesque typefaces such as Album Sans by Thomas Huot-Marchand, Salmanazar by Juliette Collin, Scto Grotesk by Schick Toikka or Brut Grotesque by Bureau Brut.