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In
typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including ...

typography
, italic type is a
cursive Cursive (also known as script, among other names) is any style of penmanship Penmanship is the technique of writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writin ...

cursive
font In metal A metal (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approxim ...

font
based on a stylised form of calligraphic
handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages (with the debatable exception of computer languag ...

handwriting
. Owing to the influence from
calligraphy Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instrument. A contemporary call ...

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 Image:Underlined.SVG, 215px, Underscored or underlined text. An underscore, also called an underline, low line, or low dash, is a line drawn under a segment of text. Underscoring/underlining is a proofreading convention that says "set this text i ...
"; in other words, underscore in a manuscript directs a typesetter to use italic. The name comes from the fact that calligraphy-inspired
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
s were first designed in
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Italy
, to replace documents traditionally written in a handwriting style called
chancery hand The term "chancery hand" can refer to either of two distinct styles of historical handwriting. A chancery hand was at first a form of handwriting Handwriting is the writing Writing is a medium of human communication that involves the ...
.
Aldus Manutius Aldus Pius Manutius (; it, Aldo Pio Manuzio; 1449/14526 February 1515) was an Italian humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, ...

Aldus Manutius
and
Ludovico Arrighi Ludovico Vicentino degli Arrighi (1475?–1527?) was a papal scribe and type designer in Renaissance Italy. Very little is known of the circumstances of his life. He may have started his career as a writing master in Venice, although this has been ...
(both between the 15th and 16th centuries) were the main type designers involved in this process at the time. Along with
blackletter Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It continued to be commonly used for the Danish languag ...

blackletter
and
Roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
, it served as one of the major
typeface A typeface is the design of lettering Lettering is an umbrella term In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying ...

typeface
s in the history of Western typography. Different
glyph The term glyph is used in typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system o ...
shapes from Roman type are usually usedanother influence from calligraphyand upper-case letters may have swashes, flourishes inspired by ornate calligraphy. An alternative is
oblique type Oblique type is a form of type that slants slightly to the right, used for the same purposes as italic type. Unlike italic type, however, it does not use different glyph shapes; it uses the same glyphs as roman type, except slanted. Oblique and ita ...
, in which the type is slanted but the letterforms do not change shape: this less elaborate approach is used by many
sans-serif In typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by ...
typefaces.


History

Italic type was first used by
Aldus Manutius Aldus Pius Manutius (; it, Aldo Pio Manuzio; 1449/14526 February 1515) was an Italian humanist Humanism is a philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, ...

Aldus Manutius
and his press in Venice in 1500. Manutius intended his italic type to be used not for emphasis but for the text of small, easily carried editions of popular books (often poetry), replicating the style of handwritten manuscripts of the period. The choice of using italic type, rather than the
roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
in general use at the time, was apparently made to suggest informality in editions designed for leisure reading. Manutius' italic type was cut by his
punchcutter Punchcutting is a craft used in traditional typography to cut letter punches in steel as the first stage of making metal type. Steel punches in the shape of the letter would be used to stamp matrix (printing), matrices into copper, which were lock ...
Francesco GriffoFrancesco Griffo (1450–1518), also called Francesco da Bologna, was a fifteenth-century Italian punchcutter. He worked for Aldus Manutius Aldus Pius Manutius (; it, Aldo Pio Manuzio; 1449/14526 February 1515) was an Italian humanist, scholar ...
(who later following a dispute with Manutius claimed to have conceived it). It replicated handwriting of the period following from the style of
Niccolò de' Niccoli Niccolò de' Niccoli (1364 – 22 January 1437) was an Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, ...
, possibly even Manutius' own. The first use in a complete volume was a 1501 edition of
Virgil Publius Vergilius Maro (; traditional dates 15 October 7021 September 19 BC), usually called Virgil or Vergil ( ) in English, was an ancient Rome, ancient Roman poet of the Augustan literature (ancient Rome), Augustan period. He composed three ...

Virgil
dedicated to Italy, although it had been briefly used in the frontispiece of a 1500 edition of
Catherine of Siena Catherine of Siena (25 March 1347 – 29 April 1380), a lay member of the Dominican Order (English: 'To praise, to bless and to preach') , leader_title = Master of the Order of Preachers, Master , leader_name = Gerard Timone ...

Catherine of Siena
's letters. In 1501, Aldus wrote to his friend Scipio: Manutius' italic was different in some ways from modern italics, being conceived for the specific use of replicating the layout of contemporary calligraphers like Pomponio Leto and Bartolomeo Sanvito. The capital letters were upright capitals on the model of
Roman square capitals Roman or Romans usually refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, ...
, shorter than the ascending lower-case italic letters, and were used at the start of each line followed by a clear space before the first lower-case letter. While modern italics are often more condensed than
roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
s, historian
Harry CarterHarry Carter may refer to: *Harry Carter (actor) (1879–1952), American actor *Harry Carter (typographer) (1901–1982), English typographer and writer *Harry Carter (politician) (1874–1952), member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly *Ha ...
describes Manutius' italic as about the same width as roman type. To replicate handwriting, Griffo cut at least sixty-five tied letters ( ligatures) in the Aldine Dante and Virgil of 1501. Italic typefaces of the following century used varying but reduced numbers of ligatures. Italic type rapidly became very popular and was widely (and inaccurately) imitated. The Venetian Senate gave Aldus exclusive right to its use, a patent confirmed by three successive
Pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

Pope
s, but it was widely counterfeited as early as 1502. Griffo, who had left Venice in a business dispute, cut a version for printer Girolamo Soncino, and other copies appeared in Italy and in
Lyons Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and Urban area (France), second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône ...

Lyons
. The Italians called the character Aldino, while others called it Italic. Italics spread rapidly; historian H. D. L. Vervliet dates the first production of italics in Paris to 1512. Some printers of Northern Europe used home-made supplements to add characters not used in Italian, or mated it to alternative capitals, including Gothic ones. Besides imitations of Griffo's italic and its derivatives, a second wave appeared of "chancery" italics, most popular in Italy, which Vervliet describes as being based on "a more deliberate and formal handwriting
ith The Ith () is a ridge in Germany's Central Uplands which is up to 439 m high. It lies about 40 km southwest of Hanover and, at 22 kilometres, is the longest line of crags in North Germany. Geography Location The Ith is immediately ...
longer ascenders and descenders, sometimes with curved or bulbous terminals, and ftenonly available in the bigger sizes." Chancery italics were introduced around 1524 by Arrighi, a calligrapher and author of a calligraphy textbook who began a career as a printer in Rome, and also by
Giovanni Antonio Tagliente Giovanni Antonio Tagliente (sometimes written ''Giovannantonio'') (c. 1460s – c. 1528) was a calligrapher Calligraphy (from Greek language, Greek: καλλιγραφία) is a Visual arts, visual art related to writing. It is the design and exe ...
of Venice, with imitations rapidly appearing in France by 1528. Chancery italics faded as a style over the course of the sixteenth century, although revivals were made beginning in the twentieth century. Chancery italics may have backward-pointing serifs or round terminals pointing forwards on the ascenders. Italic capitals with a slope were introduced in the sixteenth century. The first printer known to have used them was Johann or Johannes Singriener in Vienna in 1524, and the practice spread to Germany, France and Belgium. Particularly influential in the switch to sloped capitals as a general practice was
Robert Granjon Robert Granjon (1513-November 16, 1589/March 1590) was a French type designer and printer. He worked in Paris, Lyon, Frankfurt, Antwerp, and Rome for various printers. He is best known for having introduced the typeface Civilité and for his itali ...
, a prolific and extremely precise French punchcutter particularly renowned for his skill in cutting italics. Vervliet comments that among punchcutters in France "the main name associated with the change is Granjon's." The evolution of use of italic to show emphasis happened in the sixteenth century and was a clear norm by the seventeenth. The trend of presenting types as matching in typefounders' specimens developed also over this period. Italics developed stylistically over the following centuries, tracking changing tastes in calligraphy and type design. One major development that slowly became popular from the end of the seventeenth century was a switch to an open form ''h'' matching the ''n'', a development seen in the ''Romain du roi'' type of the 1690s, replacing the folded, closed-form ''h'' of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century italics, and sometimes simplification of the entrance stroke.


Examples

Here is an example of ''normal (
roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
)'' and ''true italics'' text: Here is the same text as ''
oblique Oblique may refer to: * an alternative name for the character usually called a slash (punctuation) ( / ) *angle#Types of angles, Oblique angle, in geometry *Oblique triangle, in geometry *Leaf#Base, Oblique leaf base, a characteristic shape of the ...
'' text: True italic styles are traditionally somewhat narrower than roman fonts. Below are some examples, besides the slant, of other possible differences between roman and italic type that vary according to how the types are designed. (The graphics illustrate transformations from roman to italic.) Image:One-story-a.svg, a "round" or one-storey ''a'', Image:E-curved-bowl.svg, an ''e'' whose bowl is curved rather than pointed, Image:F-tail.svg, an ''f'' with a tail (known as a descender), Image:k-loop-or-ballterminal.svg, a ''k'' with a looped bowl, a ''k'' with a
ball terminal A ball terminal is a design feature of a typeface or glyph where the end of a stroke takes a roughly circular shape, as opposed to a serif or a square end. External links "Ball terminal" at ParaType
{{typography-stub Typography ...

ball terminal
, Image:P-intersect.svg, a ''p'' with an intersection at the stem (ascender), Image:Vw-swash-curve.svg, a ''v'' and ''w'' with swashes and curved bottoms, Image:Z-stress.svg, a ''z'' with the stress on the horizontal strokes as opposed to the diagonal vertical one.
None of these differences are required in an italic; some, like the "p" variant, do not show up in the majority of italic fonts, while others, like the "a" and "f" variants, are in almost every italic. Other common differences include: * Double-loop ''g'' replaced by single-loop version. * Different closing height where the forked stroke intersects with the stem (e.g. : a, b, d, g, p, q, r, þ). * Bracketed serifs (if any) replaced by hooked serifs. * Tail of ''Q'' replaced by tilde (as in, for example, the
Garamond Garamond is a group of many serif In typography File:metal movable type.jpg, 225px, Movable type being assembled on a composing stick using pieces that are stored in the type case shown below it Typography is the art and technique of ty ...

Garamond
typeface). Less common differences include a descender on the ''z'' and a ball on the finishing stroke of an ''h'', which curves back to resemble a ''b'' somewhat. Sometimes the ''w'' is of a form taken from old German typefaces, in which the left half is of the same form as the ''n'' and the right half is of the same form as the ''v'' in the same typeface. There also exist specialised ligatures for italics, such as when ''sp'' is formed by a curl atop the ''s'' that reaches the small ascender at the top of the ''p''. In addition to these differences in shape of letters, italic lowercases usually lack
serif In typography, a serif () is a small line or stroke regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular font or family of fonts. A typeface or "font family" making use of serifs is called a serif typeface ( ...

serif
s at the bottoms of strokes, since a pen would bounce up to continue the action of writing. Instead they usually have one-sided serifs that curve up on the outstroke (contrast the flat two-sided serifs of a roman font). One uncommon exception to this is
Hermann Zapf Hermann Zapf (; 8 November 1918 – 4 June 2015) was a German type designer and calligraphy, calligrapher who lived in Darmstadt, Germany. He was married to the calligrapher and typeface designer Gudrun Zapf-von Hesse. Typefaces he designed ...
'
Melior
(Its outstroke serifs are one-sided, but they don't curve up.) Outside the regular
alphabet An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semanti ...

alphabet
, there are other italic types for symbols: *
Ampersand The ampersand, also known as the and sign, is the logogram In a written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, includi ...

Ampersand
resembles an '''' ligature more than the Roman version (e.g.: ITC Garamond) *
Asterisk The asterisk , from Late Latin , from Ancient Greek , ''asteriskos'', "little star", is a Typography, typographical symbol. It is so called because it resembles a conventional image of a star (heraldry), star. Computer scientists and mathem ...

Asterisk
is rotated instead of slanted (e.g.:
Bookman Old Style Bookman or Bookman Old Style, is a serif typeface. A wide, legible design that is slightly bolder than most body text faces, Bookman has been used for both Display typeface, display typography and for printing at small sizes such as in trade printin ...
, ITC Garamond). *
Question mark The question mark (also known as interrogation point, query, or eroteme in journalism Journalism is the production and distribution of reports on current events based on facts and supported with proof or evidence. The word journalism app ...

Question mark
resembles a reversed Latin S.


Usage

* Emphasis: "Smith wasn't the guilty party, it's true". This is called stress in speech. * The titles of works that stand by themselves, such as books (including those within a larger series),
album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, vinyl, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded sound were developed in the early 20th century as individual Phonograph rec ...

album
s,
painting Painting is the practice of applying paint Paint is any pigmented liquid A liquid is a nearly incompressible In fluid mechanics Fluid mechanics is the branch of physics concerned with the mechanics Mechanics (Ancient ...

painting
s,
plays Play most commonly refers to: * Play (activity), an activity done for enjoyment * Play (theatre), a work of drama Play may refer also to: Computers and technology * Google Play, a digital content service * Play Framework, a Java framework * Play ...
,
television show A television show – or simply TV show – is any content produced for viewing on a television set A television set or television receiver, more commonly called the television, TV, TV set, tube, telly, or tele, is a device that combines a ...
s,
movies A film, also called a movie, motion picture or moving picture, is a work of used to simulate experiences that communicate ideas, stories, perceptions, feelings, beauty, or atmosphere through the use of moving images. These images are gen ...
, and
periodicals Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial publications that appear in a new edition on a regular schedule. The most familiar example is the magazine A magazine is a periodica ...
: "He wrote his thesis on ''The Scarlet Letter''". Works that appear within larger works, such as short stories, poems, newspaper articles, songs, and television episodes are not italicised, but merely set off in
quotation marks Quotation marks, also known as quotes, quote marks, speech marks, inverted commas, or talking marks, are punctuation marks used in pairs in various writing system A writing system is a method of visually representing verbal communicati ...

quotation marks
. When italics are unavailable, such as on a typewriter or websites that do not support formatting, an underscore or quotes are often used instead. * The names of ships: "The ''Queen Mary'' sailed last night." * Foreign words, including the Latin
binomial nomenclature In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
in the taxonomy of living organisms: "A splendid ''
coq au vin ''Coq au vin'' (; , "rooster/cock with wine") is a French dish of chicken The chicken (''Gallus gallus domesticus'') is a domesticated Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which one group of organisms assume ...

coq au vin
'' was served"; "''Homo sapiens''". * The names of
newspaper A newspaper is a periodical Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential segments ...

newspaper
and
magazine A magazine is a periodical publication Periodical literature (also called a periodical publication or simply a periodical) is a category of serial Serial may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media The presentation of works in sequential ...

magazine
companies: "My favorite magazine is ''
Psychology Today ''Psychology Today'' is a media organization with a focus on psychology and human behavior. The ''Psychology Today'' website features Therapist, therapy and health professionals directories and hundreds of blogs written by a wide variety of psycholo ...
'', and my favorite newspaper is the ''
Chicago Tribune The ''Chicago Tribune'' is a daily newspaper based in Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive maps of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnote ...

Chicago Tribune
''." * Mentioning a word as an example of a word rather than for its semantic content (see
use–mention distinction The use–mention distinction is a foundational concept of analytic philosophy Analytic philosophy is a branch and tradition of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about rea ...
): "The word ''the'' is an article". ** Using a letter or number mentioned as itself: *** John was annoyed; they had forgotten the ''h'' in his name once again. *** When she saw her name beside the ''1'' on the rankings, she finally had proof that she was the best. * Introducing or defining terms, especially technical terms or those used in an unusual or different way: "Freudian psychology is based on the ''ego'', the ''super-ego'', and the ''id''."; "An ''even'' number is one that is a multiple of 2." * Sometimes in novels to indicate a character's thought process: "''This can't be happening'', thought Mary." * Italics are used in the
King James Version The King James Version (KJV), also the King James Bible (KJB) and the Authorized Version, is an of the Christian for the , which was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King . The include the 39 books of the , a ...

King James Version
to ''de-emphasise'' words "that have no equivalent in the original text but that are necessary in English". *
Algebra Algebra (from ar, الجبر, lit=reunion of broken parts, bonesetting, translit=al-jabr) is one of the areas of mathematics, broad areas of mathematics, together with number theory, geometry and mathematical analysis, analysis. In its most ge ...

Algebra
ic symbols (constants and variables) are conventionally typeset in italics: "The solution is ''x'' = 2." * Symbols for
physical quantities A physical quantity is a physical property A physical property is any property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of t ...
and
mathematical constant A mathematical constant is a key number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formal ...
s: "The speed of light, ''c'', is approximately equal to 3.00×108 m/s." * In biology,
gene In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mecha ...

gene
names (for example, ) are written in italics whereas protein names are written in roman type (e.g.
β-galactosidase β-galactosidase, also called lactase, beta-gal or β-gal, is a family of glycoside hydrolase enzyme Enzymes () are proteins that act as biological catalysts (biocatalysts). Catalysts accelerate chemical reactions. The molecules upon which e ...
, which the ''lacZ'' gene codes for). * In older English usage, writers italicised words much more freely, for emphasis, for instance
John Donne John Donne ( ; 22 January 1572 – 31 March 1631) was an English poet, scholar, soldier and secretary born into a recusant Recusancy, from the Latin ''recusare'' (to refuse or make an objection), was the state of those who refused to attend ...

John Donne
: ''
Meditation XVII ''Devotions upon Emergent Occasions'', or in full ''Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and severall steps in my Sicknes'', is a prose work by the English metaphysical poets, metaphysical poet and cleric in the Church of England John Donne, publi ...
(1624)''


Oblique type compared to italics

Oblique type Oblique type is a form of type that slants slightly to the right, used for the same purposes as italic type. Unlike italic type, however, it does not use different glyph shapes; it uses the same glyphs as roman type, except slanted. Oblique and ita ...
(or slanted roman, sloped roman) is type that is slanted, but lacking cursive letterforms, with features like a non-descending ''f'' and double-storey ''a'', unlike "true italics". Many
sans-serif In typography Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language A written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language A language is a structured system of communication used by ...
typefaces use oblique designs (sometimes called "sloped roman" styles) instead of italic ones; some have both italic and oblique variants. Type designers have described oblique type as less organic and calligraphic than italics, which in some situations may be preferred. Contemporary type designer
Jeremy Tankard Jeremy Tankard is a British type designer. Tankard has designed retail fonts independently and for FontShop FontShop International is an international manufacturer of digital typefaces (fonts), based in Berlin. It is one of the largest digital T ...
stated that he had avoided a true italic 'a' and 'e' in his sans-serif
Bliss BLISS is a system programming language A system programming language is a programming language A programming language is a formal language comprising a Instruction set architecture, set of instructions that produce various kinds of Input/outp ...
due to finding them "too soft", while and have described obliques as more "keen and insistent" than true italics.
Adrian Frutiger Adrian Johann Frutiger ( ; 24 May 1928 – 10 September 2015) was a Swiss typeface designer who influenced the direction of type design in the second half of the 20th century. His career spanned the hot metal, phototypesetting Phototypese ...
has described obliques as more appropriate to the aesthetic of sans-serifs than italics. In contrast,
Martin Majoor Martin Majoor (born ) is a Dutch type design :Type design ''may also refer to aircraft type design.'' FontForge, an open source application for developing computer fonts, digital fonts Type design is the art and process of designing typefaces ...

Martin Majoor
has argued that obliques do not contrast enough from the regular style. Almost all modern serif fonts have true italic designs. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, a number of type foundries such as
American Type Founders American Type Founders (ATF) was a business trust created in 1892 by the merger of 23 type foundries, representing about 85% of all type manufactured in the United States. De Vinne, Theodore Low, ''The Practice of Typography,'' Century Company, ...
and Genzsch & Heyse offered serif typefaces with oblique rather than italic designs, especially display typefaces but these designs (such as Genzsch Antiqua) have mostly disappeared. An exception is American Type Founders' Bookman, offered in some releases with the oblique of its metal type version. An unusual example of an oblique font from the inter-war period is the display face
Koch AntiquaKoch-Antiqua is a serif typeface intended for decorative and Display type, display use, designed by Rudolf Koch and published by his employer the Klingspor Type Foundry from 1922 onwards. It is a delicate face with a low x-height, intended for decora ...
. With a partly-oblique lower case, it also makes the italic capitals inline in the style of blackletter capitals in the larger sizes of the metal type. It was developed by Rudolph Koch, a type designer who had previously specialised in
blackletter Blackletter (sometimes black letter), also known as Gothic script, Gothic minuscule, or Textura, was a script used throughout Western Europe from approximately 1150 until the 17th century. It continued to be commonly used for the Danish languag ...

blackletter
font design (which does not use italics); Walter Tracy described his design as "uninhibited by the traditions of roman and italic". The printing historian and artistic director
Stanley Morison Stanley Morison (6 May 1889 – 11 October 1967) was an influential British typographer, printing executive and historian of printing. Largely self-educated, he promoted higher standards in printing and an awareness of the best printing and typefac ...
was for a time in the inter-war period interested in the oblique type style, which he felt stood out in text less than a true italic and should supersede it. He argued in his article ''Towards an Ideal Italic'' that serif book typefaces should have as the default sloped form an oblique and as a complement a
script typeface Script typefaces are based upon the varied and often fluid stroke created by handwriting. They are generally used for display typeface, display or trade printing, rather than for extended body text in the Latin alphabet. Some Greek alphabet typefa ...
where a more decorative form was preferred. He made an attempt to promote the idea by commissioning the typeface
Perpetua Perpetua and Felicity ( la, Perpetua et Felicitas) were Christian martyrs of the 3rd century. Vibia Perpetua was a recently married well educated noblewoman, said to have been 22 years old at the time of her death, and mother of an infant she w ...
from
Eric Gill Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (; 22 February 1882 – 17 November 1940) was an English sculptor, typography, typeface designer, and printmaking, printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. His religious views and subject matter ...

Eric Gill
with a sloped roman rather than an italic, but came to find the style unattractive; Perpetua's italic when finally issued had the conventional italic 'a', 'e' and 'f'. Morison wrote to his friend, type designer
Jan van Krimpen Jan van Krimpen (12 January 1892, in Gouda, South Holland, Gouda – 20 October 1958, in Haarlem) was a Dutch typographer, book designer and type designer. He worked for the printing house Joh. Enschedé, Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé. He also ...
, that in developing Perpetua's italic "we did not give enough slope to it. When we added more slope, it seemed that the font required a little more cursive to it." A few other type designers replicated his approach for a time: van Krimpen's Romulus and
William Addison Dwiggins William Addison Dwiggins (June 19, 1880 – December 25, 1956), was an American type designer, calligrapher, and book designer. He attained prominence as an illustrator and commercial artist, and he brought to the designing of type and books som ...
'
Electra c. 1869 Electra is one of the most popular Greek mythology, mythological characters in tragedy, tragedies.Evans (1970), p. 79 She is the main character in two Greek tragedies, ''Electra (Sophocles), Electra'' by Sophocles and ''Electra (Euripides) ...
were both released with obliques. Morison's
Times New Roman Times New Roman is a serif In , a serif () is a small line or stroke regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular or family of fonts. A or "font family" making use of serifs is called a serif ty ...

Times New Roman
typeface has a very traditional true italic in the style of the late eighteenth century, which he later wryly commented owed "more to Didot than dogma". Some serif designs primarily intended for headings rather than body text are not provided with an italic, Engravers and some releases of
Cooper Black Cooper Black is an ultra-bold serif In typography, a serif () is a small line or stroke regularly attached to the end of a larger stroke in a letter or symbol within a particular font or family of fonts. A typeface or "font family" making use of ...
and being common examples of this. In addition, computer programmes may generate an 'italic' style by simply slanting the regular style if they cannot find an italic or oblique style, though this may look awkward with serif fonts for which an italic is expected. Professional designers normally do not simply tilt fonts to generate obliques but make subtle corrections to correct the distorted curves this introduces. Many sans-serif families have oblique fonts labelled as italic, whether or not they include "true italic" characteristics.


More complex usage


Italics within italics

If something within a run of italics needs to be italicised itself, the type is normally switched back to non-italicized (
roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter in the New Testament of the Christian Bible Roman ...
) type: "''I think ''The Scarlet Letter'' had a chapter about that'', thought Mary." In this example, the title ("''The Scarlet Letter''") is within an italicised thought process and therefore this title is non-italicised. It is followed by the main narrative that is outside both. It is also non-italicised and therefore not obviously separated from the former. The reader must find additional criteria to distinguish between these. Here, apart from using the attribute of italic–non-italic styles, the title also employs the attribute of capitalization. Citation styles in which book titles are italicised differ on how to deal with a book title within a book title; for example,
MLA style ''MLA Handbook'' (9th ed., 2021), formerly ''MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers'' (1977–2009), establishes a system for documenting sources in scholarly writing. It is published by the Modern Language Association The Modern Language ...
specifies a switch back to roman type, whereas ''
The Chicago Manual of Style ''The Chicago Manual of Style'' (abbreviated in writing as ''CMOS'' or ''CMS'', or sometimes as ''Chicago'') is a style guide for American English published since 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. Its 17 editions have prescribed writi ...
'' (14.94) specifies the use of quotation marks (''A Key to Whitehead's "
Process and Reality ''Process and Reality'' is a book by Alfred North Whitehead Alfred North Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English mathematician and philosopher. He is best known as the defining figure of the philosophical scho ...

Process and Reality
"''). An alternative option is to switch to an 'upright italic' style if the typeface used has one; this is discussed below.


Left-leaning italics

Left-leaning italics are now rare in
Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is an alphabetic An alphabet is a standardized set of basic written symbols A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequ ...

Latin script
, where they are mostly used for the occasional attention-grabbing effect. They were once more common, however, being used for example in legal documents. They are more common in Arabic script. In certain
Arabic Arabic (, ' or , ' or ) is a Semitic language The Semitic languages are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family originating in the Middle East The Middle East is a list of transcontinental countries, transcontinental region ...

Arabic
fonts (e.g.: Adobe Arabic, Boutros Ads), the italic font has the top of the letter leaning to the left, instead of leaning to the right. Some font families, such as
Venus Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Venus (mythology), Roman goddess of love and beauty. As List of brightest natural objects in the sky, the brightest natural object in Earth's night sky after the Moon, Venus can ...
, Roemisch, Topografische Zahlentafel, include left leaning fonts and letters designed for German cartographic map production, even though they do not support Arabic characters.


Iranic font style

In the 1950s, Gholamhossein Mosahab invented the ''Iranic font style'', a back-slanted italic form to go with the right-to-left direction of the script.


Upright italics

Since italic styles clearly look different from regular (roman) styles, it is possible to have 'upright italic' designs that have a cursive style but remain upright. In Latin-script countries, upright italics are rare but are sometimes used in mathematics or in complex texts where a section of text already in italics needs a 'double italic' style to add emphasis to it. Donald Knuth's Computer Modern has an alternate upright italic as an alternative to its standard italic, since its intended use is mathematical typesetting. Font families with an upright or near-upright italic only include
Jan van Krimpen Jan van Krimpen (12 January 1892, in Gouda, South Holland, Gouda – 20 October 1958, in Haarlem) was a Dutch typographer, book designer and type designer. He worked for the printing house Joh. Enschedé, Koninklijke Joh. Enschedé. He also ...
's Romanée,
Eric Gill Arthur Eric Rowton Gill (; 22 February 1882 – 17 November 1940) was an English sculptor, typography, typeface designer, and printmaking, printmaker, who was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement. His religious views and subject matter ...

Eric Gill
's Joanna (typeface), Joanna,
Martin Majoor Martin Majoor (born ) is a Dutch type design :Type design ''may also refer to aircraft type design.'' FontForge, an open source application for developing computer fonts, digital fonts Type design is the art and process of designing typefaces ...

Martin Majoor
's Martin Majoor#FF Seria, FF Seria and Frederic Goudy's Deepdene (typeface), Deepdene. The popular book typeface Bembo has been sold with two italics: one reasonably straightforward design that is commonly used today, and an alternative upright Bembo#Monotype history, 'Condensed Italic' design, far more calligraphic, as a more eccentric alternative. This italic face was designed by Alfred Fairbank and named "Bembo Condensed Italic", Monotype typefaces, Monotype series 294. Some Arts and Crafts movement-influenced printers such as Eric Gill, Gill also revived the original italic system of italic lower-case only from the nineteenth century onwards.


Parentheses

''
The Chicago Manual of Style ''The Chicago Manual of Style'' (abbreviated in writing as ''CMOS'' or ''CMS'', or sometimes as ''Chicago'') is a style guide for American English published since 1906 by the University of Chicago Press. Its 17 editions have prescribed writi ...
'' suggests that to avoid problems such as overlapping and unequally spaced characters, Bracket#Parentheses ( ), parentheses and brackets surrounding text that begins and ends in italic or
oblique type Oblique type is a form of type that slants slightly to the right, used for the same purposes as italic type. Unlike italic type, however, it does not use different glyph shapes; it uses the same glyphs as roman type, except slanted. Oblique and ita ...
should also be italicised ''(as in this example)''. An exception to this rule applies when only one end of the parenthetical is italicised (in which case
roman type In Latin script Latin script, also known as Roman script, is a set of graphic signs (Writing system#General properties, script) based on the letters of the classical Latin alphabet. This is derived from a form of the Cumae alphabet, Cumaean Gre ...
is preferred, ''as on the right of this example''). In ''The Elements of Typographic Style'', however, it is argued that since Italic delimiters are not historically correct, the upright versions should always be used, while paying close attention to kerning.


Substitutes

In media where italicization is not possible, alternatives are used as substitutes: * In typewritten or handwritten text, underlining is typically used. * In plain-text computer files, including e-mail communication, italicised words are often indicated by surrounding them with slash (punctuation), slashes or other matched delimiters. For example: ** I was /really/ annoyed. ** They >completely< forgot me! ** I had _nothing_ to do with it. (Commonly interpreted as underlining, which is an alternative to italics.) ** It was *absolutely* horrible. (Commonly interpreted as bold. This and the previous example signify italic in Markdown, where bolding uses **double asterisks**.) * Where the italics do not indicate emphasis, but are marking a title or where a word is being mentioned, quotation marks may be substituted: ** The word "the" is an article. ** The term "even number" refers to a number that is a multiple of 2. ** The novel "Fahrenheit 451" was written by Ray Bradbury.


OpenType

OpenType has the ital feature tag to substitute a character to italic form with single font. In addition, the OpenType Font Variation has ital axis for the transition between italic and non-italic forms and slnt axis for the oblique angle of characters.


Web pages

In HTML, the <i> HTML element, element is used to produce italic (or
oblique Oblique may refer to: * an alternative name for the character usually called a slash (punctuation) ( / ) *angle#Types of angles, Oblique angle, in geometry *Oblique triangle, in geometry *Leaf#Base, Oblique leaf base, a characteristic shape of the ...
) text. When the author wants to indicate emphasised text, modern Web standards recommend using the <em> element, because it conveys that the content is to be emphasised, even if it cannot be displayed in italics. Conversely, if the italics are purely ornamental rather than meaningful, then Semantic HTML, semantic markup practices would dictate that the author use the Cascading Style Sheets declaration font-style: italic; along with an appropriate, semantic Html#Attributes, class name instead of an <i> or <em> element.


See also

* Boldface


Notes


References


External links


The Essential Italic
Victor Gaultney (presentation to ATypI) {{Typography terms Typography