Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Palatino

Palatino--you know the "font" on your computer, but do you know its source? The typeface was developed by Herman Zapf in 1948, but Zapf's inspiration goes back to Renaissance Italy. In 1550, master calligrapher Giovanbattista Palatino wrote the second great treatise on handwriting. Our 1578 edition titled Compendio del gran volumede l'art del ben et leggiadramente scrivere tutte le sorti di lettere et caratteri (Venice: Appresso gli Heredi di Marchio Sessa, 1587) is part of our Ray Nash Calligraphy collection.

Palatino is a serif font with the characteristic small details on the ends of some of the strokes that make up the individual letters. Used primarily for printed materials, Palatino and other serif fonts have fallen out of favor in online media as sans-serif fonts such as Arial are thought to be easier to read on screen.

Interestingly, Nash, who ran Dartmouth's Graphic Arts Workshop and inspired a generation of typographers, brought Zapf to Dartmouth several times, though we don't think we can make any claim that Nash's book collection inspired Palatino, the typeface.

To learn to write beautifully, ask for Callig Z43.A3P3.

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