Anglia Ruskin University
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2b. Piranesi's Initials - Information Graphic

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posted on 2021-03-17, 15:14 authored by Jon MeltonJon Melton

Piranesi's Initials - Information Graphic

Research Type Specimens

(Type specimens are defined as typographic design that showcases a typeface design and its use. Information graphics can in this case, both justify and explain the context for a new type design.)

These Initial forms were revived into an information graphic diagram to explain the content of Piranesi’s letterform ‘beliefs’ within the Graeco-Roman debate. This graphic explains Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s plate 41 Fig. II and III from Le Antichità Romane of 1756. Where single capital ‘E’ is highlighted with the addition of component serifs as the source of the Roman. This insight provides the potential to extend the ETRVSCA Sans font into a larger family of both serif-less and partial vestigial serif fonts within future practice-based research.

The research and development of Piranesi’s Initials were explained at TypeThursday London (Cambridge) symposium on 09 May 2019. They were derived from a first edition original plate engraving of the 'ONIONIANA' letters of 1756.

ONIONIANA scan/photo: Jon Melton,

Research Question(s): How will engaging in practice-based research inform the development of a new primal sans typeface, lead to new insights into the context of the serif-less letterforms of the eighteenth-century?


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