Ambroise is a contemporary interpretation of various typefaces belonging to Didot’s late style, conceived circa 1830, including the original forms of g, y, &; and to a lesser extent, k. These characters are found in Vibert’s typefaces. Vibert was the appointed punchcutter of the Didot family during this period. It is the Black, whom sources were surest, which has been the basis for the conception of the family. In the second half of the 19th century, it was normal to find fat Didots in several widths in the catalogs of French type foundries. These same typefaces continued to be offered until the demise of the big French foundries in the 1960s.
Ambroise attempts to reproduce more of what we see printed on paper in the 19th century; a more accurate representation of Didot punches. So, the unbracketed serifs are not truly square straight-line forms but use tiny transitional curves instead. The result on the page appears softer and less straight, particularly in larger sizes.
How to pair correctly Ambroise?
Pairing Ambroise is a delicate task, on Ambroise Details tab at Typofonderie, we suggested Anisette Petite, Ardoise and Le Monde Courrier. Ambroise is a Didot, built on a vertical axis, rationality is present as it can be on geometric typefaces. Thus, typefaces like Anisette work really well together. Rounded and powerful typefaces like Le Monde Courrier and the new Geneo works too, because of their stylistic differences. To pair correctly Ambroise with another typeface, it’s a matter of adjusting visual contrast, as if you have to mix two kinds of furniture at home. The differences must be clear and obvious to remain effective.
Ambroise and Geneo.
Ambroise and Anisette Petite.
Every variation of the typeface carries a name in homage to a member of the illustrious Didot family of type founders and printers. The condensed variant is called Ambroise Firmin. The extra-condensed is called Ambroise Francois. Generally, only one set of ornaments are designed for a type family. This time, fewer ornaments have been designed but ensured each was capable of multiple variations. Each series features the same set of ornaments, and none of them are similar, they always follow the weight and width of the typeface reference. The result is a wonderful tool for the user, as the variations help to create different rhythms and colours to the layout. Ornaments, vignettes, alternates, ligatures are available through separate OpenType fonts.
As Nick Cox conclude his article about Ambroise on Typekit blog: Its beauty, flair, and panache make Ambroise a charming and classy choice in many applications. Again, keep in mind that it is designed for use exclusively in titling applications; its thin strokes vanish at smaller sizes. But use it large and sparingly for short texts, and Ambroise will evoke all the romance, refinement, and posh qualities we’ve come to love and associate with France.
The good surprise is that you can enjoy Ambroise & save 15% on your purchase using the coupon “15_AMB” — special offer available until the 31 July 2012.
→ Ambroise, Ambroise Firmin, Ambroise François: A Didot in 14 series & 3 widths.
→ Typofonderie’s Gazette: About Ambroise.
→ Geneo: A robust oldstyle, an elegant slab, 18 styles.
→ Anisette Petite: A sanserif with a unique style in 6 weights.
→ Typekit blog: About Face: Ambroise by Nick Cox.
→ Everydaytype: Nick Cox blog.