Aldine: the intellectuals begin their assault on font design
These fonts are also from Northern Italy. Bembo is a revival of the work of another printer, Aldus Manutius in the 1500s. Manutius was a major influence on type design as we know it. This continued the trend toward a more intellectual development of type away from its calligraphic roots.
- Narrower caps: But not by much
- Larger x-height: This tends to make these fonts look a bit more contemporary to our eyes.
- Ascenders taller than the caps: This is the first case where this feature became part of our font design lexicon.
- Rigidly parallel stems: This is still not rigidly true as we will find in the more geometric designs much later on.
- The horizontal line: Whereas the Venetian styles used the inclined line, the Aldine used the horizontal.
- More regular serifs: I would say they are more predictable, but they are not purely symmetrical yet. Look at the A, G, f, & r.
- Sheared apexes: AMNVW
Most of the life and playfulness of the Venetian has been ironed out. The term stately is used of these fonts—cool, formal, and sober. I find them clean & crisp. The English used these fonts as a base for what they called Old Face.
Arno and Centaur are part of this class. Many consider Centaur, to be one of the most elegant fonts ever designed. Arno seems more Slimbach (contemporary Adobe designer) than Aldine. Bitstream has two fonts named Aldine. Aldine 401 is the most historical.
- Venetian: the beginning of our fonts, Nicholas Jenson (bergsland.org)