Aldus was smart about exploiting the combination of new, humanist learning with the physical intimacy of smaller books. To effect this intimacy, Aldus and his punchcutter, Franceso da Bologna, turned to the cursive forms of handwriting used by chancery scribes — flowing forms, with many connecting letters and swooping ascenders and descenders. Legend has it that the cursive Aldus chose to emulate was the handwriting of no less than Petrarch, but this is likely little more than canny marketing. The idea was to make a book that looked like it had been written out by hand — not a medieval manuscript book, of the kind that was still being produced in scriptoria, but something more like an author’s draft copy, or a piece of private correspondence. With its many ligatures and variations to suggest handwriting, Aldus’s italic had more than fifty separated letterforms for its lower-case characters. For printing purposes, it was unwieldly and impractical, but its look was widely admired — and swiftly copied. Although Venice gave Aldus exclusive license to use the cursive typeface (which they called not “italic,” but “Aldino”), new versions spread — and as they did, the typeface was streamlined and simplified. Its oblique flow captured not only the letter of Renaissance humanism, but its spirit as well.