Matthew Willsone

United Kingdom

Cavallo is a font family designed to excel in an editorial environment, with catering for magazine design being the main focus. The family supports three scripts; Latin, Cyrillic, and Arabic. All of these scripts have a base of two weights, Regular Text, and Bold Text. The Latin script has been developed further, having seven total styles compared to Cyrillic and Arabic with four. These additional styles come in the form Headline and caption, both with a regular and bold variant, and a Regular Italic.

Starting with the Regular text, Cavallo’s styles were dictated by the needs of a magazine designer. In an observation conducted by myself, there were three consistent uses of typography in articles. These were labeled Headline, Text, and Caption, for simplicity. Headline denoted any text larger than 20pt and features an increase of stroke contrast that would usually fall apart at small sizes. The Text style was designed to perform between 8-10pt, with optical adjustments and an italic counterpart. The caption style was designed to withstand the conditions of small print, it’s letterforms took inspiration from WA Dwiggins, with sharp abrupt corners that optically smoothen I was able to open the counters and strengthen strokes.



Each style of Cavallo has an individual x-height that was refined through optical testing. A headline is often set in large point sizes so it doesn’t need the increased space, whereas Text and Caption require more compensations.


Cavallo has multiple visual elements that make it unique and distinctive alongside other serif fonts. Firstly Cavallo sports asymmetrical serifs, imitating the stroke of a pen. Terminals are cut abruptly, this is due to a printing compensation that occurs at lower point sizes whereby sharp edges appear softer than intended. Finally, the diagonal strokes are tapered instead of maintaining the same weight throughout, doing this allows Cavallo to have lighter strokes at junctions and experience less ink spread.


Cavallo’s Arabic counterpart incorporates various visual attributes of the Latin script. Carrying over such aspects as prioritising opened apertures and counters, ensuring that each letterform has maximum legibility. Beak terminals weren’t always appropriate so instead barbed terminals and blunt exist strokes were substituted to compliment the other scripts.


A massive thank you for taking a look at Cavallo, I encourage you to take a look at the specimen for some more examples of typesetting.


Matthew Willsone

+44 (0) 70801 576292