Francesco Griffo

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Francesco Griffo

fl. c. 1500

Italian typographer who designed and produced the first italic type. Employed in the shop of Aldus Mantius (1449-1515), Griffo developed the type by modeling it on the informal style of handwriting. Epistola devotissime da Sancta Catharina da Siena (Devotional Epistles of Catherine of Siena), published by Aldus in September 1500, contained a woodcut showing St. Catherine holding a book. On the book itself were the first 18 italic characters in history. Griffo's creation would prove to have a massive impact: printers soon dropped the heavy black letter Gothic type in widespread use up to that point, and Roman typefaces designed during the next three centuries reflected Griffo's influence.

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