Lalibela family – fonts by a South African graphic designer

 I would like to share some work by fellow graphic designer, Jan Erasmus with you.

Jan’s motivation for designing the Lalibela family (which is based on Bodoni) was to pay homage to Ethiopic Script. The script has been around for about 3 000 years, but he took artistic license to deviate from the original model and add personal touches.

He chose the Bodoni family as a historical model because of it’s display value not its text size use because the extreme contrast made it difficult to read at small sizes. The font was drawn with much larger x height and less geometric than Bodoni for its primary use as a display.

Due to licensing restrictions Jan could not send me the actual fonts, which I would have used to showcase the fonts in detail. Nonetheless, Jan was kind enough to email me the three pictures below as per my specifications.

Lalibela Regular




Lalibela Bold




Lalibela Bold Alternate

 Lalibela Alternate was designed to provide an interesting mixing integration with the Bold family member for expressive headlines. All the characters on the ‘Alternate” were changed besides the O, 1 and 2.

Feel free to visit a section dedicated Lalibela font family on Jan’s website. On this page, you’ll also be able to test type before you buy — which gives you the oportunity to type your prefered dummy copy plus a zoom tool that should come in handy for a more detailed look at the fonts.