Francesco Griffo

Francesco Griffo (1450- 1518), also called Francesco da Bologna, was a fifteenth-century Venetian punchcutter. He worked for Aldus Manutius, designing that printer's more important typefaces, including the first italic type. His romans show a degree of abstraction from calligraphy not present in the work of the earlier master Nicolas Jenson, while his italic and Greek types are notably cursive. Just as Manutius had achieved a monopoly on italic printing and Greek publishing with the permission of the Venetian government, he had a falling out with Griffo. In 1516, after he returned to Bologna, Griffo was charged with the murder of his son-in-law, who had been beaten to death with an iron bar. This is his last appearance in the historical record.

Monotype Poliphilus roman, Bembo Book roman, and Bembo Titling, Morris Fuller Benton's Cloister Old Style italic, Jack Yan's JY Aetna roman, Bitstream Aldine 401 roman, and Franko Luin's Griffo Classico roman and italic are all based on his work; more distant descendants include the romans of Claude Garamond, Giovanni Mardersteig's Dante, and Robert Slimbach's Minion.

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