Linda Secondari was invited by the University Press of Kentucky and the UK College of Design to give in the Farish Theater of the Lexington Public Library talk about book design with a particular focus on the Association of University Presses' Annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.
Aldus Manutius (c.1450–1515) was the father of modern publishing. Born near Rome, he moved to Venice in the 1490s, where he formed the Aldine Press. The Aldine Press premiered an immensely popular new format well-designed editions of the secular classics Manutius called libelli portatiles, or portable little books because they easily fit in the hand of the reader, the first paperbacks.
The many contributions to the art of printing made by Aldus Manutius include the first italic typeface, which he created with the type cutter Francesco Griffo. Italics were intended to mimic the humanist handwriting of the day. His work in developing the roman typeface devised for a 1496 book by the humanist scholar Pietro Bembo — the inspiration for the modern font Bembo, still treasured by book designers for its grace and readability.
Although books were popular and in demand Manutius' finances were often unstable. He quarreled with his punchcutter, and he was forced to defend his work from both detractors and admirers. His attempts to secure his innovations against imitators are important moments in the history of copyright. To that end, Aldus Manutius devised a trademark to identify his books in the marketplace. The trademark was based an ancient Roman coin given to him by Pietro Bembo. The symbol of the dolphin and anchor served as the model for this device. The inscription which reads ‘Make haste slowly’ was a favorite saying of Augustus and a slogan of Manutius'.
To learn more about Aldus Manutius:
The Bodleian Library's online exhibition celebrating the 500th anniversary of his death
A Tribute to the Printer Aldus Manutius, and the Roots of the Paperback By Jennifer Schusslerferb. 26, 2015
The Alphabet of Death composed by Hans Holbein the Younger between 1523 and 1525 is the companion to Holbein’s The Dance of Death created in the same period. The artist was working in Basle at the time where the Reformation was underway. Holbein’s sympathies to the reformations’ aims and ideas are evident in the illustrations.
The spooky initial caps were meant to be lessons on the brevity of life and the weakness of the flesh. We think they are a perfect typographic meditation for Halloween, the spookiest of days!
B: features two death-figures, a dog, and the pope.
O: or drop cap, Death leading a terrified monk.
Q: (modified to be a second O) Death is disguised as a monk with a nun following quietly along — in contrast to the monk.
To read more about this Holbein masterpiece: http://www.dodedans.com/Ealfabet.htm