Italic type

In typography, italic type is a cursive font based on a stylised form of calligraphic handwriting.[1][2][3] Owing to the influence from calligraphy, italics normally slant slightly to the right. Italics are a way to emphasise key points in a printed text, to identify many types of creative works, to cite foreign words or phrases, or, when quoting a speaker, a way to show which words they stressed. One manual of English usage described italics as "the print equivalent of underlining"; in other words, underscore in a manuscript directs a typesetter to use italic.[4]

Ludovico Arrighi's early "chancery italic" typeface, c.1527. At that time italic was only used for the lower case and not for capitals.

The name comes from the fact that calligraphy-inspired typefaces were first designed in Italy, to replace documents traditionally written in a handwriting style called chancery hand. Aldus Manutius and Ludovico Arrighi (both between the 15th and 16th centuries) were the main type designers involved in this process at the time. Along with blackletter and Roman type, it served as one of the major typefaces in the history of Western typography. Different glyph shapes from Roman type are usually used  another influence from calligraphy  and upper-case letters may have swashes, flourishes inspired by ornate calligraphy. An alternative is oblique type, in which the type is slanted but the letterforms do not change shape: this less elaborate approach is used by many sans-serif typefaces.


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