Burghi Big

Hi, I’m Burghi

Burghi by Alex Bossi and Fabrizio Falcone

This chubby display face is a variable font that reflects something of the hedonistic social climate in 1980s Italy

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Burghi: looking back in hunger

Designed by Fabrizio Falcone and Alex Bossi, Burghi is a variable display font. Inspiration came from the graphic styles of the early fast-food joints and especially the logo (perhaps influenced by Joseph Churchward’s Marianna typeface) of the first Italian US-style fast-food chain.

In the early 1980s, a youth subculture based on appearance and consumer lifestyles was spawned in Milan. The teenagers who made up that wave mostly went to private schools in the city centre. They were labelled ‘paninari’ (hamburger eaters) because they used to crowd into a pub called Al panino (‘panino’ means sandwich) in piazza Liberty, or in piazza San Babila, at the fast-food restaurant Burghy.

The ‘paninari’ spent their pocket money on fashionable clothes and appearances. Suntans mattered too. They sought visibility by always appearing stylish, even when they didn’t have much to spend. They were also recognised by their peculiar slang and music preferences. Besides Italian dance music, they liked to listen to pop bands such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Simple Minds, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Culture Club, Pet Shop Boys (who even released the song ‘Paninaro’ in 1986).

A hedonistic faith in a hedonistic world

From 1984 to 1988 the launch and growing popularity of Drive in (a new comical show on one of Berlusconi’s tv channels) amplified this subculture with sketches by Paninaro, a character played by the comedian Enzo Braschi. The show helped spread the ‘paninari fashion’, codifying stylistic features and status symbols craved by youngsters from all over Italy and Italian Switzerland. It was so successful that specialised comics also cropped up: Il Paninaro, Wild Boys, Zippo Panino, Il Cucador as well as Preppy and Sfitty, their female versions. 


The first paninari of Piazza San Babila were from middle or upperclass families from whom they got easy money for motorbikes, expensive clothes – all they needed to be ‘in’. Later young gangs of paninari, from different social backgrounds and with different names, sprung up elsewhere (‘tozzi’ in Rome, ‘zànari’ in Bologna, ‘bondolàri’ in Verona etc.). However, after a decade, that untroubled, easy-going lifestyle faded away and the paninari disappeared. 

Burghi, the chameleonic face

Burghi’s lumpy style brings back the taste of those hedonistic times. Fat and rounded, its letterforms evoke a tangible sensation of smoothness and satisfaction, making it a good choice for any kind of fun or joyful communication. 

As a variable font, Burghi’s counters have two alternative designs: one has straight and tiny counters (almost microscopic) for the bigger sizes starting from 40 points, while the other has slightly wider counters for smaller sizes (minimum 20 points). In addition, Burghi’s character set is enriched by three emojis from the fast-food world: hamburger, chips and drink.

Try Burghi, its tasty style will get you raving!

Character set



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