Giulia Zafferani


Italic. A Renaissance Legacy.

Elaboration, development, and new uses of Italian Chancery script.

Studium: Master Visuelle Kommunikation und digitale Räume
Jahr: 2022
Mentor*innen: Dr Invar-Torre Hollaus, Jinsu Ahn, Susanne Käser

Instagram: @giulia.zafferani

The chancery style of writing, which originated in Italy during the Renaissance in the 16th century, has long been used as the primary typeface in both calligraphy and printing, where it originated and in many Western European countries. Its dynamic and visually striking forms still represent an important legacy in graphic and typographic production centuries later. Despite the time gap, the evolution of aesthetics, and the explosion of market trends, the identity of italics – as we call it today – is more alive than ever, even if its use has been adopted for purposes other than those for which it was originally created.

The reflection on this topic and the observation of these graphically expressive forms have stimulated further study and research in this field. This project is in fact, part of the realm of type design and historical and typographic research, as well as the investigation of the birth and development of chancery writing. How it became established in written culture, its geographical and temporal spread, and how it can achieve a new degree of modernity in our current visual and social environment. To do this, the practice of typographic revival was analyzed, a complex notion that is not limited to the conversion of pre-digital characters into pixels but carries with it the important task of building memory and creating continuity between history and future values and culture.

Typefaces based on revivals of the past are many and have always been made both before the digital evolution between calligraphy and printing and after the introduction of the computer. However, this visual contribution aims to challenge and enhance the classical concept of revival in a more expressive and meaningful way. Taking the digital world, and particularly that of online communication, as a context, the goal was to create appropriate compositions by leveraging the most attractive graphic aspects belonging to this style. Bringing italics back to its original function as a unique entity in a text while creating meaning and emphasis with visual compositions that can be used in the chosen context of digital communication, such as chats, social networks, and e-mail.

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