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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

type face, 1930; the type was cut in 1929 based on one used in 15c. by Aldus Manutius in an edition of a work by Pietro Bembo.


Bembo is a 1929 serif typeface created by the British branch of the Monotype Corporation and most commonly used for body text. It is a member of the " old-style" of serif fonts, with a regular or roman style based on a design cut around 1495 by Francesco Griffo for Venetian printer Aldus Manutius, sometimes generically called the "Aldine roman". Bembo is named for Manutius's first publication with it, a small 1496 book by the poet and cleric Pietro Bembo. The italic is based on work by Giovanni Antonio Tagliente, a calligrapher who worked as a printer the 1520s, after the time of Manutius and Griffo.

Monotype created Bembo during a period of renewed interest in the printing of the Italian Renaissance, under the influence of Monotype executive and printing historian Stanley Morison. It followed a previous more faithful revival of Manutius's work, Poliphilus, whose reputation it largely eclipsed. Monotype also created a second, much more eccentric italic for it to the design of calligrapher Alfred Fairbank, which also did not receive the same attention as the normal version of Bembo.

Since its creation, Bembo has enjoyed continuing popularity as an attractive, legible book typeface. Prominent users of Bembo have included Penguin Books, the Everyman's Library series, Oxford University Press, Cambridge University Press, the National Gallery, Yale University Press and Edward Tufte. Bembo has been released in versions for phototypesetting and in several revivals as digital fonts by Monotype and other companies.

Usage examples of "bembo".

The Lanston Monotype Machine Company of Philadelphia brought the well-proportioned letter forms of Bembo to the United States in the 1930s.

The three Inquisitors, Francesco Grimani, Francesco Sagredo and Paolo Bembo, invited him to dinner to hear his story of his escape from The Leads.