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May 2010

Lettering for Food Packaging: Historic Letterforms = Character

If you've traveled to Italy, you've at least seen panforte, if not eaten it. This dense, spicy, nut and dried fruit-filled confection comes in several specialized recipes and sizes. Not your ordinary fruitcake, it was the mainstay of traveling monks' diets, or so they say. "Strength bread" is a rough translation.

After our trip to Italy with our mom, my sister and I decided to research recipes and produce our own version of panforte for Christmas gifts. We designed the packaging, of course, and my solution for the lettering of the word itself came in the form of Lombardic-styled versal letters, popularly used in manuscripts of the 13th to the 15th centuries. Voluptuous and appetizing, the letters themselves seem to celebrate this historic food!

The letters were drawn in pencil, inked in with a technical pen, and retouched somewhat. The red dots were added digitally. (Foodies' tip: genuine Italian panforte is available at DeLaurenti's at the Pike Place Market in Seattle).