Born Hans Mardersteig in 1892 in Weimar, Germany. The son of a lawyer and art enthusiast, he also graduated in jurisprudence in Jena but never practiced. In 1919 he founded Genius magazine enjoying contributors such as Franz Kafka, Oskar Kokoschka, and others. After obtaining permission from Bodoni Museum of Parma to cast fonts from Bodoni’s original matrixes, he established the legendary Officina Bodoni in Montagnola, Switzerland. In 1926 he sold the printshop to Arnoldo Mondadori after winning the contract for printing D’Annunzio complete works. The printshop was consequently transferred near Verona, where Mondadori had printing facilities. In 1946 he became an Italian citizen and changed his first name to Giovanni. The same year he founded Stamperia Valdonega printing books for major publishing houses such as Adelphi, Collins, Folio, Sansoni, Salani, and others. He also designed excellent typefaces with the collaboration of French punch-cutter Charles Malin, among which the most famous are Fontana, Zeno, and Dante. His work received international appreciation and he was awarded major recognitions including the Gutenberg Prize, Bodoni Prize, AIGA Gold Medal, and the Gold Medal for Cultural Merit from the Italian Republic. During his late years he was partnered and then succeeded by his son Martino. He died in Verona, Veneto in 1977.