In Use: Penumbra for The Da Vinci Code

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Stephen Coles | May 16, 2006

In looking for a dramatic font with Roman roots, the designers of “The Da Vinci Code” posters and marketing materials could easily have relied on good ol’ Trajan. Instead, they went with something less common: Penumbra Serif. The Penumbra set is derived from the same classical Roman lettering as Trajan, but comes in three finishes — Sans, Flare, and Serif — and a larger range of weights.




Penumbra Sans


A simple flip of the ‘V’ to make an ‘A’ and a gradient fill customizes the typeface for the Da Vinci logo.

Da Vinci Code Fonts 1Da Vinci Code Font 2

More background on Penumbra from Adobe:

Penumbra, designed by Lance Hidy in 1994, is an all-capital design. Hidy derived Penumbra from his poster lettering-monoline forms with a blending of contemporary and traditional qualities, which has evolved since the 1970s. Penumbra’s style range from a Futura-like sans serif to a Sistina-like serif can be successfully used in myriad display situations. Hidy says about his typeface: “Penumbra is an ‘androgynous’ letterform which morphs between the worlds of sans serif and serif.”

Update: Lance Hidy sent us some of his personal design work using Penumbra. Two stamps and a poster for Davis Kidd Booksellers also feature his illustrations.

Penumbra Postage Stamps

Davis Kidd Booksellers Poster

See more Penumbra in May’s FontShop News.


  1. Penumbra is a great alternative. This is one of those fonts that proves MM would still be great to have around. Minor adjustments to serif length can have great effect.

    Posted by Tiffany Wardle on May. 17, 2006
  2. Penumbra is very interesting, I recall it. I’d be curious to know about Hidy’s feelings, considered the stir such a novel and movie could have in a climate of ignorance on religious matters like we have today.

    I found weird to learn the publishers of Playboy bought a license of my Ottomat. But people do what they want with your creation, once it’s out there.

    Posted by Claudio Piccinini on May. 25, 2006
  3. I used Penumbra to create the logo and branding for one of my clients.

    Posted by Auni Milne on Jun. 27, 2006
  4. What font is used for the actual text?

    Posted by Pam on Jan. 2, 2013

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