Working With Type

CV Dida is a custom type family commissioned by Cornelsen, a German publishing house (CV = Cornelsen Verlag). Cornelsen is one of the leading publishers for educational materials, with its repertoire ranging from school books for early learners to didactial content for vocational and adult learners.

CV Dida is a type design project developed in close collaboration with fellow type designer Botio Nikoltchev.

The Brief

Cornelsen was looking for a general type solution to ensure consistency across their digital and print products. The publisher wanted a typeface that can be used in books, e-books, apps and websites to present their educational content and strengthen their brand. The main focus was to design for text font size.

The Challenge

Learning material starts off with young children learning to read and write letter by letter and then gradually moves on to help young adults explore complex issues. In addition, each learner progresses in their own individual way and at their own pace. So a solution was needed that could be employed both in early learning materials as well as materials for advanced or older students.

The Process

Developing the CV Dida type family was a very close and engaging process with the client. For every step, a committee of experts nominated by Cornelsen tested and evaluated its applicability. We did printing tests and user research. To help with the process, we installed a microsite where all stakeholders were able to track updates and try out the typefaces.

The Design

The sans version was given priority because of its wider usage. Most material for early learners in Germany is set in a typeface called Schulbuch, a version of Helvetica. We decided to take this as a starting point instead of creating something completely new, and thus produced a Grotesque version reminiscent of geometry sans typefaces, but with a warmer and friendlier touch.

For the serif typeface, we took initial inspiration from the venerable Century Schoolbook to give the sans a modern and strong companion.

The Result

Currently, CV Dida consists of four typefaces, each in three weights: A Junior version for early learners, the regular Sans for almost all remaining content, a Compact version for contexts where space is limited, and a Serif version for longer body texts.

And there is more to come as the project evolves over time.

Fonts used in educational materials need to meet a set of specific requirements, especially if these materials are developed on a federal level. Consequently, the typeface comes with a number of alternate characters for use in different German states.

Here is a animated video presentation of CV Dida type family:


Online Specimen
Article on
Little Behind-the-Scene Article by Cornelsen

In Use

CV Dida in Meine Fibel, printed learning book.