Bembo is an old-style serif typeface that goes back to the times of Aldus Manutius. It is one of those classic book types that just need to be present on anyone’s list of interesting fonts.

What does Bembo look like?

This is the Monotype cut, created in 1929 and published by Adobe.

Bembo typeface example

This is what a few of the available styles look like.

Bembo Regular
Bembo Regular
Bembo Italic
Bembo Italic
Bembo Bold
Bembo Bold
Bembo Bold Italic
Bembo Bold Italic

What do you use Bembo for?

Bembo is a very legible typeface that is frequently used for books. You can, however, use Bembo for any type of project in which you need a classical yet stylish look. If you are looking for an alternative, try Adobe Garamond or Minion. Bitstream’s Aldine 401 is a Bembo look-alike.

The history of Bembo

The first version of Bembo was cut by Francesco Griffo around 1496 for use by Venetian printer Aldus Manutius. The typeface got its name from being used in a book authored by Cardinal Bembo. It appeared in its full form in a later book called Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, one of the most celebrated book designs of the Renaissance.

Hypnerotomachia Poliphili - trophy Roman arms

The iteration that we currently use was created by Stanley Morison for The Monotype Corporation in 1929. Monotype released a new digital version, called Bembo Book, in 2005.


In 1516 Francesco Griffo was charged with beating his son-in-law to death with an iron bar. He was most likely hanged for this crime.

Other sources of information

Wikipedia has a short page on Bembo. You can find an interesting rant about it hereAldus Manutius and the noble Bembo is a good read.

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