Nicolas Jenson and the establishment of roman type in 15th-century Venice

Monday, November 9, 2020, 2:30 - 4pm

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As part of the Herb Lubalin Lecture Series, Riccardo Olocco speaks about the origin of roman typefaces, the very beginning of the lowercase letterforms we are familiar with today. He will first introduce research on 15th-century types, and the methods he developed to achieve sharp images of the printed marks. He then will overview the printing revolution that took place in Venice in the last quarter of the 15th century, and introduce Nicolas Jenson, the French printer (and punchcutter). Jenson cut a roman type around 1470 that was so well assembled, so definitive in its forms, that it still represents a reference point for contemporary typeface design. Additionally Olocco will discuss Jenson’s career along with the success of his rotunda types (the Italian style of blackletter), which he cut some years later and which gained even more success with contemporaries than his roman, and compare the Jenson roman with the types that were cut in the same early years (1470–1473) showing Jenson’s letterform innovations. Finally, Olocco will follow the development of roman types and show how Jenson’s lowercase letters became the basis of all roman types to this day.

Registration is required.

Riccardo Olocco is a designer and researcher, visiting research fellow at the University of Reading where in 2019 he completed his Ph.D. In the early 2010s, he lectured in Typography at the University of Bolzano, and from the late 1990s, he freelanced as a type and graphic designer in Milan and elsewhere in northern Italy. A board member of the Nebiolo History ProjectI, he has published articles and lectured across Europe. He's a member and co-founder of CAST, Cooperativa Anonima Servizi Tipografici.

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