Cochin™ Font Family is a serif Italian old-style typeface, designed in 1912 by Georges Peignot and now published by Linotype and Adobe. There are limited typefaces in this family, with only 6 different variants available. The design was named after notable engraver Charles-Nicolas Cochin le Jeune (the Younger), though it does not resemble any of his work.
The Cochin family of fonts was based upon copper engravings from the 18th century, which partly explains why the Cochin typeface is wide in appearance. Copper is easy to work and engrave, being a soft metal, but to improve legibility it often has wider characters that might be seen in print. An engraved font needs to have sufficient spacing to allow the reader to be able to discern between upright strokes.
The Cochin font was named after a French engraver named Charles Nicolas Cochin (1715–1790) although his work is not related to this typeface in any way. George Peignot (1872–1915), the designer of the Cochin typeface, was a well-known engraver of the period and his Cochin font was widely used in the early 20th century. The Cochin typeface was also used and modified by several other foundries during the 1920s, and is also commonly known as “Sonderdruck”.
The original typeface was cut for Paris foundry, Deberny & Peignot by Charles Malin in 1912.
The original Cochin font is an unusual typeface, with a disparity of shapes which make slightly quirky as typefaces go. It has, however, found its way into a number of printed and published works. The Rock band Keane used the typeface on their earlier album and single covers. It is used in wedding invitations, business cards, greetings/birthday cards, and reproductions of old texts and certificates. The latest usage is in the Apple iPad—this is a strange choice of typeface as it is intended to be part of the e-reader program. Bundled with the iPad, it is hard to see why this font has been included as it is not completely suitable for general reading.
Cochin variants have found their way into recent Hollywood film promotion with the recent film with Tom Hanks "Angels and Demons" using it in theatrical posters and film titles. The Cochin family of fonts appears on many book covers as well.
The Cochin font family has many oddities about it that render it less useful in mainstream publishing. The design itself retains a historic look to it and the regular typefaces do not appear too odd, although they do look dated. The italic version of this font has some design features that some may find stylish, while others find it disparate. With over-curled uprights on the lower case “d”, and an unusual curl on the lower-case “h”, some letters join together in a cursive manner, while others are separate. Inconsistencies like these give the typeface a unique appearance—they are not always practical in use, but can lend an eccentricity often called for in the reproduction of old texts, or where a traditional style of typeface may be required.