Since the late 15th century, Bembo has been among the most universally admired – and imitated – type designs ever created. Monotype has created a new, meticulously rendered revival called Bembo Book, specifically designed to capture the grace of the original in text-setting sizes.
Bembo Book History
Starting in the 1920s, under the direction of Stanley Morison, Monotype entered a period of achievement that is still considered a “golden age” in modern typographic history. It was during this time that Monotype developed the foundation of its current library, including new designs such as Gill Sans, Perpetua and Romulus. The company also undertook revivals of historic typefaces that had been lost for centuries. Bembo was one of this latter group. Now, in the twenty-first century, Bembo is enjoying yet another important revival, with the release of Bembo Book.
The story of Bembo began in Venice, an important typographic center in 15th and 16th century Europe. Many printers started businesses in Venice at this time, but the most significant of these was Aldus Manutius, the first of the great scholar-printers. Next to Gutenberg, Aldus would prove to be the most influential printer of the Renaissance.
Late in the 15th century, Aldus published a relatively insignificant essay by the Italian scholar Pietro Bembo. The type used for the text was a new roman design commissioned by Aldus and cut by Francesco Griffo, a goldsmith-turned-punchcutter. Griffo’s design was lighter and more harmonious in appearance than earlier romans. It was also easier to read than previous designs.
Despite the modest vehicle that prompted its launch, the Bembo typeface became eminently popular in Italy and soon found its way to France. Here the design came to the attention of Claude Garamond, the famous French type founder. Through his efforts to duplicate it, the design eventually spread its influence to Germany, Holland and the rest of Europe. The “Aldine” roman, as it came to be known, served as the foundation of new typeface designs for hundreds of years.
Monotype’s designers used antique books and specimen material set with Aldus’ original fonts as the basis for their Bembo revival in the 1920s. The first phototypesetting and digital versions were based on hot metal 9-point drawings. This gave good legibility in small sizes, due to the design’s comparatively large x-height, but lacked some of the elegance of the larger metal sizes.
The new digital version of Bembo, called Bembo Book, has been designed to better suit setting text in the 10 to 18 point range. This new face has been carefully drawn to produce results comparable to those achieved from the letterpress version. Outlines were taken directly from the metal type drawings and digitized, then meticulously edited to preserve the design features and overall color of the original design.
Bembo Book is slightly narrower than existing digital versions of the face; this makes it more economical in use and gives excellent color to continuous pages of text. Ascending lowercase letters are noticeably taller than capitals, giving an elegant look to the design.
Bembo Book is available in Regular and Bold weights with complementary italics. Each font has both lining and old style numerals, with small capitals available for the Regular and Bold roman fonts.
Bembo Book Usage
Bembo Book is slightly narrower than existing digital versions of the face; this makes it more economical in use and gives excellent color to continuous pages of text.
Licenses for desktop fonts
A typical desktop font EULA will allow you to install the font on your computer for use with authoring tools including word processors, design tools and other applications that permit font selection. Fonts can also be used for creation of print documents, static images (JPEG, TIFF, PNG) and logos. The cost of a desktop font license is determined by the number of workstations on which the font is to be used.View the desktop EULA for this family
Licenses for Fonts.com Web Fonts subscriptions
The Fonts.com Web Fonts license provides access to a selection of fonts for use on websites for use with CSS@font-face. Font delivery from our global network is available through all subscriptions – even our free plan. Some plans include the option to self-host, access to desktop fonts, and use of our FontExplorer X font manager and Typecast design application. The price of a plan is determined by its pageview allowance and other features included.View the Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription license agreement
Licenses for mobile apps
A mobile app license permits the embedding of the font into the iOS, Android or Windows RT mobile platforms. Licenses are platform-specific meaning a separate license is required for each platform the font is embedded into. Licenses remain valid for the total operating life of the app and a new license is not required to cover free updates to the app.Learn more about licenses for mobile apps
Licenses for electronic publications (eBooks)
An electronic publication license can be used for the embedding of fonts into electronic documents including e-books, e-magazines and e-newspapers. A license covers only a single title but is valid for the full operating life of that title. Every issue of an e-magazine, e-newspaper or other form of e-periodical is considered a separate, new publication. Format variations do not count as separate publications. If a publication is updated and distributed to existing users, a new license is not required. However, updated versions issued to new customers are defined as new publications and require a separate license.Learn more about licenses for eBooks
Server licenses authorize the installation of a font on a server that is accessed by remote users or website visitors. These licenses are commonly used by Web-based businesses providing goods that are personalized by its users such as business cards, images with captions and personalized merchandise. Users are not allowed to download the font file and the font may not be used outside the server environment. The font may not be employed for a software as a service (SaaS) application in which the service is the actual product and not the means of providing the product. Server licenses cover a set number of CPU cores on production servers (development servers are not counted) on which the font is installed. The license is valid for 1 year.Learn more about server licenses