Filosofia, designed by Zuzana Licko for Emigré, a digital foundry set up in California by Licko and Rudy VanderLans, both «emigrés»: the former from Slovakia, the latter from Holland. Their foundry, with its fonts and homonymous review published from 1984, has influenced and continues to influence the trends in graphic design. It is Licko herself to clarify the meaning of and inspiration behind her Bodoni redesign: Filosofia is a personal interpretation of Bodoni, designed by her without reference to a particular model from among the many possible prototypes, but working almost from memory following a close study of the Bodoni printed publications and the various redesigns of Bodonian lettering when it came to the basic proportions.
Thus, if on the one hand there are philological details such as the slightly rounded and irregular endings of the serifs – typical traits of numerous original print editions and due to the printing technique of the time – on the other hand in Filosofia there are as many details that are not present in the prototype, such as the rounded endings of the lower case «s», although this last detail in particular blends well with the abovementioned philological choice.
It amounts to a method of redesign that could be defined as an interrogation into the shape of the typeface according to the designer’s sensibility, almost as if it were the design of a totally new character.
The style of Filosofia consists in a strong geometrization (seen for example in the angular rather than curved joints) and in the accentuation of the verticality of shapes, as if underlining the «modernity» of the original models.
In its way Filosofia also puts forward diversity of design according to the size of the typeface, seen in two series: Regular, for body text, which has a reduced contrast and different proportions with respect to the heading series, Grand, which is more refined in the details; this last includes the Unicase series, based on the idea of the Alphabet Twentysix by Bradbury Thompson, with upper and lower case letters of the same height. All the series have roman, italic, bold, small capital and fractions.
In short: the heading of Vignelli’s publicity material for the launch of the typeface was: Filosofia «It’s their Bodoni».