Posted in Typeface

Lettera-Txt | Kobi Benezri


In summer of 2008, a typewriter font named ‘Lettera’ quietly made it into Lineto’s library. Although unannounced, ‘Lettera’ caught the eyes of many, and been very successful. It has been in use in numerous magazines, books, websites and identities.

‘Lettera’, named after Mario Belini’s iconic typewriter for Olivetti, is based on different Olivetti typewriter font, named ‘Candia’, originally designed by Joseph Müller-Brockmann in the early seventies, and was in production for only a few months, until it was discontinued and ignored.


I came across an old basic specimen of that typewriter font and developed it into a four cut family, with a bolder weight and two corresponding Italics. The specimen from which I based my designs was a rather poor quality scan in a small size that left a lot of room for interpretation. When the scan was magnified to a high percentage, its poor quality suggested a detail that resembled a ‘reversed’ ink trap in many of the characters, which became a significant design detail in the development of ‘Lettera’. Later on, when a different specimen was discovered – it was realized that those details never existed in ‘Candia’, but they were kept as part of ‘Lettera’.


After a long contemplation, and numerous requests by users of ‘Lettera’, I set out to test a proportional version of ‘Lettera’, but given the backwards process of developing a proportional font out of a monospaced one, this task was approached with a great deal of skepticism, concerned that the style and character of ‘Lettera’ will be lost and a proportional version will become another plain grotesque face. However, it didn’t take too long to prove quite the opposite.

The result is a six cut family that is also available as OpenType with extended Latin support, including Cyrillic. ‘Lettera-Txt’ has great legibility in body text, and its rather normal and familiar appearance at first glance, does not resemble anything else as you go on reading. Round and upright, with quite unusual proportions.

In addition to the release of ‘Lettera-Txt’, I also introduced two new weights for ‘Lettera’: ‘Bold’ and ‘Bold-Italic’. That makes for quite an extensive family with six proportionals and six monospaced cuts. An additional ‘Black’ weight, with a corresponding italic, will be available in early 2013 (‘Lettera-Txt’ only).

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Thank you to Kobi Benezri for the images / copy / information



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