“The first Dante fonts were the product of a collaboration between two exceptional artists: Giovanni Mardersteig, a printer, book and typeface designer of remarkable skill and taste, and Charles Malin, one of the great punch-cutters of the twentieth century.
Mardersteig was born in 1892. While still a young man he developed a keen interest in the typefaces and printing of Giambattista Bodoni. The punches and matrices for Bodoni’s original types had been preserved, and Mardersteig obtained permission to use them. Charles Malin cut replacements for some of these original punches; later he cut punches for nearly all the new typefaces Mardersteig designed.
Dante was Mardersteig’s last and most successful design. By this time he had gained a deep knowledge of what makes a typeface design lively, legible and handsome. Years of collaboration with Malin had also taught him the nuances of letter construction, and the two worked closely to develop a design that was easy to read. Special care was taken in the design of the serifs and top curves of the lowercase to create a subtle horizontal stress, which helps the eye move smoothly across the page.
In 1955, after six years of work, the fonts were used to publish Boccaccio’s Trattatello in Laude di Dante. The design took its name from this project.” —Lino Type
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