Inspired by Dwiggins’ 1937 experimental design, Odile is a vibrant typeface featuring intriguing interior lines and angles which create an interesting tension with the outer curves. The inventive serif structure, with alternating straight and bracketed serifs, and diverging top and bottom serifs, ensures that — while the typeface is perfectly suited for use in extended text — it is extremely attractive in display sizes.
Where the type family truly shines is in the Initials and especially the Deco Initials. Odile is definitely not some half-arsed “fun font” with curly bits all over. The initial caps have a perfectly balanced, interesting texture with carefully designed curves, which are contrasted with abruptly placed straight lines. Just the right amount of flair is added in the Initials, whereas the playful and intricate Deco Initials look like modern reinterpretations of medieval illuminated capitals.
The end result is a fascinating family of typefaces, informal and friendly, and full of delightful idiosyncrasies. It is steeped in love for the source material, respectful of its rich history. Yet the face isn’t afraid to boldly look forward. Odile is an undeniably contemporary design, offering some much-needed vintage charm to counterbalance the tech blandness favoured by the current mainstream.
Contains excerpts of Peters’ article “Anatomy Of A Typeface”, Grafik magazine, October 2006.
Yves Peters is a graphic designer / rock drummer / father of three who tries to be critical about typography without coming across as a snob. Previously columnist for Typographer.org and editor-in-chief for The FontFeed, he has found a new home on FontShop News. His ability to identify most typefaces on sight is utterly useless in daily life.