Who Was Aldus?

Portrait of Aldus Manutius

If you are curious about how our organization got its name, you’re invited to read The Aldus Story (PDF), written by member Jay Hoster, which explains the origins.

The printer’s device of the dolphin and anchor is indelibly associated with the name of Aldus Manutius (1452-1515), Venetian printer of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries.

An innovative and progressive printer, Aldus is credited with the creation of italic type. His initiative to publish humanist texts in portable, octavo editions had a great influence on the democratization of book ownership and the dissemination of ideas.

The Aldine Press became a gathering place for many of the great thinkers of the day and Erasmus referred to this print shop salon as a university without walls.

The dolphin and anchor are the iconographic representation of the Renaissance motto, festina lente (“make haste slowly”), the anchor being slow and the dolphin haste, reflective of the detailed yet constant output of the Aldine Press.