Wendell Didone, Free Font

One of my grandpa’s best habits was writing elaborate birthday notes in his own ostentatiously idiosyncratic, hand-drawn version of Bodoni or Didot. This was entirely in keeping with his character. He was thoroughly modern, but gentle and classical at the same time. He liked France, loved his wife, was briefly Frank Gehry’s boss, and liked mystery novels, but kept them in the back bedroom where guests wouldn’t see them piled high on bookshelves he’d designed and built himself. When he retired, he set his digital watch for 5:30 pm, the time he would get home from work and pour his first of two Jim Beams on the rocks. Mid-century modern? Perfectly. He read his newspaper on an Eames lounger by the light of Nelson Bubble Lamps. Hell, he KNEW the Eameses. He was an architect in Los Angeles, his wife a modern painter. He was one of the coolest people I’ve ever known. So, some years back while trying to get the hang of using typeface design software, I decided to pay tribute to this remarkable human being by setting his personal didone in type. Some weeks later it was Father’s Day and I was able to give the font to my dad to install on his computer—and that totally blew his mind.

It IS a little crude, has no punctuation, and the numbers only go up to ‘5,’ but it has a certain charm and captures a modicum of my grandpa’s playfulness. So, feel free to download and use it under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. I would love to fix it up, but I no longer have the software to do it.

Wendell Didone suffers for its lack of a comma, but it has its moments! And so did Percy Shelley!

The font is in Open Type Format (.otf), so it should work on all platforms. If you do use it for something, I would love to see. You can always reach me at alex@starheartnautilus.com.

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