A cursive alphabet which is matched with a roman font and used along chiefly for emphasis.

Definition: While roman typefaces are upright, italic typefaces slant to the right. But rather than being just a slanted or tilted version of the roman face, a true or pure italic font is drawn from scratch and has unique features not found in the roman face.

Most word processing and desktop publishing programs have an option to turn a roman font into italic. If a matching italic version is installed, this may work fine. However, if an italic version is not available, some programs will create fake italics by simply slanting the roman typeface.

Venetian printer Aldus Manutius and his type designer, Francesco Griffo are credited with creating the first italic typeface — the term italic paying homage to Italy where the style originated.

Also Known As: oblique, tilted, slanted

In typography, italic type is a cursive typeface based on a stylized form of calligraphic handwriting. Owing to the influence from calligraphy, such typefaces often slant slightly to the right. Different glyph shapes from roman type are also usually used—another influence from calligraphy. It is distinct therefore from oblique type, in which the font is merely distorted into a slanted orientation. However, uppercase letters are often oblique type or swash capitals rather than true italics.

This style is called “italic” for historic reasons. Calligraphic typefaces started to be designed in Italy, for chancery purposes. Ludovico Arrighi and Aldus Manutius (both between the 15th and 16th centuries) were the main type designers involved in this process at the time.

an italic character or type

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