Inspiring type: Libro di M. Giovambattista Palatino

~ 17 August 2009 ~

In doing research on Italian type, I stumbled across a wonderfully inspiring resource published 460 years ago, possibly on or about the typography work by Giambattista (or Giovambattista or Giovanni Battista) Palatino, the master Italian calligrapher.

A Google translation doesn’t provide a lot of clarity as to exactly what the book is about or why it was created, but the source from which I discovered the resource describes the book as follows:

This jewel of a book was published in 1550 by Antonio Blado asolano in Rome. It is now available on the web and contains of complete alphabets, from chancery scripts, to blackletter and roman. There are also greek, hebrew, Cyrillic, Syrian, Arabic and other alphabets.

Below are a few snippets from the book. You can browse the online version containing scanned images of all 128 pages. Even better, the PDF is a free download, and as such you’d be foolish not to keep a local copy for study and inspiration.

It is this kind of work that provides real, sustainable inspiration over the course of one’s career, and not just fleeting, short-lived influence. I might not have immediate need for this resource, but when it eventually inspries me in the middle of a project two, three, or even ten years from now, I’ll thank myself for taking the time to archive it. Hopefully you will too.



Veer Veer: Visual Elements for Creatives.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.

1   Maratonda ~ 17 August 2009

This is the 5th page:
Libro di M. Giovanbattista Palatino cittadino romano, nel qual s’insegna a scriver ogni sorte lettera , di qualunque nazione, antica e moderna, con le sue regole e misure, e esempi.
Book by M. Giovanbattista Palatino, Roman citizen, in which writing in any kind of letter, of any nation, ancient and modern, with its own rules and measures, and examples, is taught.
I am Italian.
Thanks for this wonderful discovery!

2   Cameron Moll ~ 17 August 2009

@ Maratonda: Thanks for the translation!

3   Micah ~ 17 August 2009

Great find! Very inspiring to see the beauty and craftsmanship in those letter forms!

4   Sean Foushee ~ 17 August 2009

Beautiful find! I bet the original print is even more awe inspiring. I love how he handles the double z in mezzo on that last page.

5   Ashely Adams : Sticker Printing ~ 18 August 2009

This was sheer delight! thanks a ton Cameron. These are simply awe-inspiring and i hope to make use of them someday. Archival value is great!

6   jkiel ~ 18 August 2009

That is very cool, thanks for letting us know about the book!

7   Piotr ~ 24 August 2009

Nice find. Thanks for sharing.

8   Trent Walton ~ 26 August 2009

First off, let me commend you for “doing research on Italian type.” Along with the type, I really enjoy how the pages are laid out… thanks for posting that.


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