teaches calligraphy at Parsons School of Design and the history of type
at the School of Visual Arts. This June, he is leading a lettering tour
of Italy that will include a weekend at the Tipoteca. For more
information, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sandro Berra
Photography by Fabio Zonta
Published by Cornuda: Tipoteca Italiana Fondazione, 2006
A Story with Character doesn’t focus on the creation of the Tipoteca, but it is full of wonderful photographs of printing equipment, type, and printers. The photographs, both historical and new, are not only evocative and informative—they are simply gorgeous. They show off the printing ability—on uncoated paper—of Grafiche Antiga and the talent of photographer Fabio Zonta. The historical photographs cover both printing and typefounding with memorable images: a white lab-coat-clad Aldo Novarese designing a typeface with a pointed brush, the binding department at the Istituto Italiano d’Arti in Bergamo with everyone in the middle of their duties momentarily frozen in place for the camera, Francesco Filetti poised confidently in his Spoleto printshop with his iron handpress, and a close-up of the zuccone counterweight on an Amos dell’Orto press of 1842. The physicality and tactility of letterpress printing is lovingly recorded.
The book also includes examples of Italian printing, especially type specimens and pages from graphic design periodicals such as Il Risorgimento Grafico and Campo Grafico. They are supplemented in the book by a quick survey of the most important Italian typefaces of the 20th century, several of which are not available digitally and thus will be fresh to non-Italians. Together, these magazines and typefaces provide a window into a little-known area of modern typographic history.