Bembo 14-point Roman

A quarter strength jobbing fount of 14-point roman.

Monotype Bembo achieved that ‘permanent future’ forecast by a reviewer in The Fleuron in 1930. ‘It will be used by the “undistinguished” as well as the distinguished printer, for it possesses all the virtues in an eminent degree; a first-class legibility in its own right, an Englishness coffered by our use of Caslon for two centuries, economy in a-z space, adequate but not extravagant ascenders and descenders, agreeable variety of thicks and thins, a perfect grace in combination and above all, a due capacity for enlargement.’

With Bembo (1929), the Monotype Corperation restored to the printer’s typographic heritage the earliest, and undoubtedly the most beautiful, old face design in the history of typography. Cut by Francesco Griffo, one of the most accomplished goldsmiths and engravers of the fifteenth century, it was first used by Aldus Manutius in a tract by the humanist scholar and poet, Pietro Bembo, published in Venice in 1495. The superb quality of the design and the great prestige of the printer carried the pattern all over Europe. It was copied by Claude Garamond for the Paris printers, and by Robert Granjon for Christophe Plantin and others. It took deep root in the Netherands, where it was recut by van Dijk; and it was this version that Caslon took as his model when English type founding was revived in the eighteenth century.

It is not surprising that Bembo became the most popular face in the annual selection of British books for the National Book League exhibitions of book design. Quite apart from its typographic charm, it is an ideal book face. It requires minimum leading for easy readability, and prints well on most paper surfaces.


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