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The origins of Bembo go back to one of the most famous printers of the Italian Renaissance, Aldus Manutius. In 1496, he used a new roman typeface to print the book de Aetna, a travelogue by the popular writer Pietro Bembo. This type was designed by Francesco Griffo, a prolific punchcutter who was one of the first to depart from the heavier pen-drawn look of humanist calligraphy to develop the more stylized look we associate with roman types today. In 1929, Stanley Morison and the design staff at the Monotype Corporation used Griffo's roman as the model for a revival type design named Bembo. They made a number of changes to the fifteenth-century letters to make the font more adaptable to machine composition. The italic is based on letters cut by the Renaissance scribe Giovanni Tagliente. Because of their quiet presence and graceful stability, the lighter weights of Bembo are popular for book typography. The heavier weights impart a look of conservative dependability to advertising and packaging projects. With 31 weights, including small caps, Old style figures, expert characters, and an alternate cap R, Bembo makes an excellent all-purpose font family.
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