Banner: The I Tatti Renaissance Library

About the Book Design

by Dean Bornstein, Series Designer

Among the sources I consulted when first thinking about this project were books designed by modern masters that interpreted classical texts. I looked at the work of Daniel Berkeley Updike, Bruce Rogers (who designed the Renaissance-inspired typeface Centaur), Reynolds Stone, and Joseph Blumenthal. I also studied a copy of Three Classics of Italian Calligraphy for decorative cartouches that could be incorporated into the series design.

The ITRL typeface, specially designed for the series, is based on Jenson. Firmly rooted in neo-Humanist tradition, this typeface has a historical connection to Nicholas Jenson, a French typographer living in Venice who cut the eponymous face in 1469.

The page form is based on a template of Renaissance proportions (1:1.6). The trim size is intentionally a bit larger than the Loeb Classical Library volumes. Aside from establishing a unique identity for this series, the size gives more flexibility in accommodating different texts (dialogue, verse with long lines) without losing the intimate feeling of a modestly sized book.

Most of all, I have strived for a restrained yet elegant design which invites reading and honors the text.

The jacket color is a specially mixed ink (formula name: “I Tatti Blue”) chosen to complement the deep blue of the binding cloth and to provide the volumes’ titles with sufficient contrast to ensure readability. The jacket’s understated design bears a family resemblance to that of the Loeb Classical Library volumes, and, as with that series, we hope its distinctive color and classical appearance will become universally recognized as a hallmark of The I Tatti Renaissance Library.

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