Francesco Griffo was unquestionably an influential punchcutter, designing a number of significant (and innovative) Roman typefaces and the first true italic (before being executed for the brutal murder of his son-in-law). Despite this grim end to his life - the Griffo story does not end there - he contributed a lot to the development of 15th century type design and his faces and the elegant proportions of his letterforms have inspired countless designs since. (Bembo is one of my favourites!)
I am loving Rosetta'srelease Neacademia which draws inspiration from Francesco Griffo’s type, found in Aldus Manutius’ 1499 edition of Hypnerotomachia Poliphili. Designed by Sergei Egorov, Neacademia is a typeface with a past. Like other fonts that are inspired by a historical model, it conveys a feeling from a bygone era and transports it into a modern format. Where it differs to many others however, is its approach to be historically sensitive, rather than historically accurate.
While the display sizes maintain a visual link to calligraphic roots, text sizes exhibit more typographic qualities, following the hand of the carver, not the calligrapher. It is elegant, full of personality and like Bembo is an absolute pleasure to read.
Even more exciting for the letterpress geek in me - Neacademia was designed to work with fast and slow, old and new technology - making design and production allowances for letterpress photopolymer printing. Printed digitally, it can tolerate – and even benefit from – low resolution, rough paper, and low-grade presswork. It also adopts a more traditional approach to kerning and caps-spacing – instead of a multitude of kerning pairs, it makes use of alternative letterforms. In many ways, it feels like using metal type again! Super cool!