Typeface Review

Chiavettieri

Reviewed by Conor Mangat on May 9, 2016

Chiavettieri is utterly comfortable in his own skin. Broad of beam, yet subtly sculpted. Clipped but not mannered. Evenly proportioned, low in contrast and with weighty limbs, his relaxed gait belies his formidable capabilities.

He is a citizen of the world, fluent in all manner of European tongues, and brimming with tales of adventure, far and wide. With a rich accented delivery, his understated confidence hints at so much more beneath the surface. There’s talk of daring undercover missions across Prague, diplomatic decadence in misty Vienna, and his lectures at the University of Belgrade are legendary. The most interesting man in the world? Maybe not, but he’s an enviable dinner guest nonetheless.

Or, to put it another way, Chiavettieri has character. Perhaps it’s stating the obvious when discussing a typeface, but there’s a fine line between character and eccentricity. Subdued details neither distract nor demand attention, but instead give the letterforms a solid approachability. Repeat viewings each reveal something new, yet taken as a whole, the face looks as unassuming as so many others.

Chiavettieri is unapologetically a text typeface, with a generous set, smooth rhythm, and complemented by an energetic italic, perfectly proportioned small caps, and full suite of numeral styles. Nikola Kostić has masterfully synthesized many references to create something distinctly new — but completely familiar. Even with his extra girth, Chiavettieri stands on the shoulders of these giants, and does it as a worthy compatriot. He may not be Bond but he’s certainly not bland.

Conor Mangat is a typographic designer from London. Educated to ideological extremes (Ravensbourne, CalArts, Reading), his exploits so far encompass areas of graphic, interaction, typeface, and information design. He currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

One Comment

  1. Gianluigi says:

    Glad he enjoyed Palermo so much he named a font after a popular street in the city (there are other references to the city in the text too).

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