A Glimpse of Typography History: Aldus Manutius, the Inventor of Modern Book Typography

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Aldus Manutius creator of Aldine Press had many beautiful works. The book I am taking a page from to write about is The Hypnerotomachi. A book set in 1467 is categorized in the romance genre. This book has many groundbreaking and new for the time techniques that make it stand out from publications before the creation of the press machine and even after. The story has two characters that go by the name Poliphilo and Polia. The book starts a dream of Poliphilo’s imagination due to an argument that he and Polia have. As a result of Polia giving him the cold shoulder, Poliphilo starts having a restless night where the reader gets to enter. The book describes the dream of the main character who then falls asleep and enters a second dream demonstrating a dream within a dream. The book also changes narrators between the two main character (Poliphilo and Polia).

This dream is filled with a mythical dreamland filled with fairytale types of creatures that Poliphilo must fight off and three doors he has to choose to get to Polia. He finally gets to her and they reunite. Around this time the narration changes to Polia to describe Poliphilo’s dilutions from her point of view. At first, she rejects Poliphilo but Cupid come to her in a dream and persuades her to give Poliphilo a chance. At this point, Poliphilo was stuck in a comma type of sleep by Polia’s feet. She kisses him back to life and just when Poliphilo gets to embrace Polia in a hug she disappears from his arms and he is awakened from his sleep. I chose this particular page because I was able to see both beautiful typography and an illustrated page that has a bit of color to add a pop of color. Although the color did attract me at first there were a few versions of this book where there is no color used. Both are appealing to its “clean” look. I appreciate the visual or concrete poetry look of the text. The visual typography of the text in itself is artistic. The illustration gives today’s readers a look at Renascence type of art. The art uses well crafted clean lines that are well balanced and colored in this case. The book is written in and instituted in a multitude of languages.

The text varying between Latin, Italian as well as It had words with Latin and Greek roots. And the illustrations demonstrated some Arabic, Hebrew words, in authentic Egyptian hieroglyphs, and made up or invented words. Its roman typeface that we use a version of today is said to have been cut by Francesco Griffo who had taken revised from the typeface Aldus had first used in 1496 for the De Aetna of Pietro Bembo. The type used in this text is said to have been one of the first examples of the italic typeface. The illustrations have borders while the text creates a border using text alignment much similar to “Justy” alignment we use today. There is a good amount of margin space about an inch all around which helps the reader's eyes focus on toward the center of the page and the art on the page. In today books it is rare that the typeface is paid much attention to. Contemporary books are more concerned about the content righter than the visual effect it as on a reader especially if there are no illustrations. Comparing this book to the books before the invention of the printing press it is clear that the quality increased and more attention to details. If this was true for the precursor books they were so because only a few were made. This era gave books the possibility to look great, have fewer mistakes in them, be enjoyed by many because it was possible to publish by the hundreds. In conclusion, Aldus Manutius was a trend blazer for typography. We still use many of the methods he first came up with or embraced to this day. Looking back at a glimpse of typography history gives a sense of appreciation for what we see being done today.

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A Glimpse of Typography History: Aldus Manutius, the Inventor of Modern Book Typography. (2020, December 28). WritingBros. Retrieved December 10, 2023, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-glimpse-of-typography-history-aldus-manutius-the-inventor-of-modern-book-typography/
“A Glimpse of Typography History: Aldus Manutius, the Inventor of Modern Book Typography.” WritingBros, 28 Dec. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-glimpse-of-typography-history-aldus-manutius-the-inventor-of-modern-book-typography/
A Glimpse of Typography History: Aldus Manutius, the Inventor of Modern Book Typography. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-glimpse-of-typography-history-aldus-manutius-the-inventor-of-modern-book-typography/> [Accessed 10 Dec. 2023].
A Glimpse of Typography History: Aldus Manutius, the Inventor of Modern Book Typography [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 28 [cited 2023 Dec 10]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/a-glimpse-of-typography-history-aldus-manutius-the-inventor-of-modern-book-typography/
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