What does it mean to be boldfacing?

What does it mean to be boldfacing?

I recently received a message on LinkedIn from a colleague I met at an industry event a few years back (hey, Josh!). He wrote:

Hello Renessa,

What does it mean to be a boldfacing person? Am I one? And, who judges this criteria?


I loved receiving this question! I assumed he was asking in regards to our tagline here at Ciampa Creative, “thoughtful and imaginative design for boldfacing people and organizations.”

When I founded Ciampa Creative in 2010, I knew I wanted to service clients who were innovative boundary-pushers and leaders in their industries. From artists to start-ups, to non-profits and for-profits, I wanted to help these bold clients speak to their audiences. No one has ever asked me what “boldfacing” means, so I suppose I’ve been assuming that people were generally interpreting it to mean “bold,” but I’m grateful for Josh’s question and the opportunity to explore its meaning a bit more!

The short answer is, I sort of made it up. There once was an online publication called Boldfacers.com (now inactive) which featured Boston-based talent and leaders. Being a Boston native and driven entrepreneurial type, I enjoyed reading this site and learning about these “boldfacers” in my community. So that’s where I first heard the term “boldfacers”, and a few years later adapted it to describe my target client audience. I believe that my personal interpretation of the word, in terms of how it applies to our clients here at Ciampa Creative, is expanded to include innovative companies and progressive organizations.

As a designer, I’m obviously very familiar with the more common definition of the term “boldface”:

type or print that has thick, heavy lines, used for emphasis, headings, etc.

A more metaphorical example of the term’s usage might be something like:

But his writing for Texas Monthly made him a boldface name in his home state: One of the first writers hired when the magazine started in 1973, he retired as a senior editor in 2010.

We don’t believe you have to be boldfacing in every single thing you do (in fact—like typography—when every point is emphasized, the focus is lost), the important thing is to be open to forward-thinking and audacious ideas. We see boldfacing not only as an ideal client characteristic, or a design choice, but also as a guideline for our own approach. We boldly face issues and generate interesting and thoughtful solutions in collaboration with clients.

In response to Josh’s question, “who judges this criteria?”, I think it’s up to you to decide if you or your company/organization is boldfacing! We’d love to hear from you if you think you might be!

1 boldface(n.). In The Free Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/boldface
2 Ward, A. (2017). Gary Cartwright, teller of Texas stories, dies at 82. Chron. Retrieved from http://www.chron.com/entertainment/books/article/Texas-writer-Gary-Cartwright-dies-at-82-10950774.php