Typeface Review


Reviewed by Christian Palino on March 5, 2008

Anyone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen realizes the advantage of having the proper knives for the job at hand. Be it the pairing knife or the mezzaluna, the fish fillet knife or the meat cleaver – all of the same incising family but formally different and individually crafted for a specific set of tasks. Like a finely tuned Misono set, Leitura proves to be a superb tool kit for the typographer.

Dos Santos said that he originally set out to create an array of neutral typefaces that could work together and achieve an invisibility – lacking in details that would distract from the content. The result is a type family with extraordinary detail ranging across sans, serif, news, headline, and display versions, as well as a custom group of symbols.

While there have been a number of family releases that offer a similar selection of weights and styles, Leitura is astounding for its simultaneous contrast and consistency. Rather than staying bound to a strict serif, terminal or finial structure, Leitura gives us transitional, didone and chunky slabs. There are sans serifs with humanist proportions and italics with whimsical ligatures. Small caps and short decorative flourishes. And in an almost unthinkable way they all manage to work together without looking overly similar, without having mundane rhythms or becoming too visually disparate. Bravo Dino!

Christian Palino is a designer and educator living in San Francisco. He is currently a Product Design Manager at Facebook and teaches Interaction Design at CCA. He previously worked at OpenTable, IDEO and Adaptive Path.

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