Meet Collletttivo: an expanding group of typography buffs with an open source philosophy
- Jyni Ong
- 26 March 2019
Collletttivo is self-described by its members as “something we haven’t yet been able to define.” A type foundry built on an open source philosophy — where designs can be modified online by others — the collective is “an aggregation of people doing a variety of things that revolve around typography.” Established in 2017, Collletttivo started as an online type portfolio where its early members could share their design experiments. Since then, the group has condensed into a smaller but more active collective of seven Milan-based creatives working on projects, workshops and talks, not to mention several other designers who have released their typefaces on the website which are available to download for free!
Though the group has evolved into something undefinable for now, their goal has always remained the same. Luigi Gorlero of Collletttivo tells It’s Nice That, “our aim is to build an expanding group of typography buffs that can learn and improve through practice and mutual exchange.” Purposely contradicting the often solitary working methods of many type designers, Collletttivo’s open source ethos means its output is more collaborative and more experimental. Additionally the openness helps “broaden [their] audience and provides a platform to give and receive advice from other members of the design community.
Their name encapsulates this ideology, deriving from the Italian word for collective “collettivo” while the extra “l” and “t” stands for the Italian term for open typography, “libera tipografia”. Always open to new collaborations, Collletttivo does not identify as a design studio as it largely operates after work or on weekends, but nonetheless, its design output matches the technical abilities and creativity of full-time studios.
Ribes Black, designed by Luigi Gorlero is a typeface consisting of two families, Ribes Black and Ribes Torto, normal and cursive respectively. While Ribes Black takes its inspiration from the 1950’s funk and jazz aesthetic, it “retains a glimpse of Roman proportions” creating a playful yet solid design. Alternatively, Ribes Torto is still a work in progress but similarly follows the humanist typography movement like its sister, possessing a “twisted and unstable appearance” as a result of skewed stems.
Ortica is designed by Benedetta Bovani. Its concept revolves around a family of typefaces with three pointedly different curvature intensities. From straight and sharp edges in Ortica Bold to the “perfectly built curves” of Ortica Light, each weight looks very different on first glance but is “constructed with the same soul.” The regular version is currently under construction and will appear somewhere between its light and bold counterparts, meeting in the middle between Ortica Light’s simple elegance and Ortica Bold’s chunky dynamism.
Finally, Matteo Maggi talks us through his typeface Halibut Serif. “At the beginning my goal was very trivial” explains the designer. “I wanted to make a Roman typeface inspired by the classics but with a shade of the contemporary.” Interested in the Roman practice of glyph engraving into marble books, Matteo went onto take on the limitations of these primitive chisel tools and “use them as an aesthetic peculiarity.”
Taking inspiration from Aldo Novarese’s Nova Augustea from 1964, and a classic sign for a pharmacy in Brera, Milan, Matteo went onto design the extended version of Halibut. “The result was something very spiky and cold” and so he named his creation Halibut as a reference to fishing hooks and shiny sharp fish. “I found out later that actually, Halibut is neither sharp nor silver, but more like a huge floppy flounder, but by then I had grown fond of the name” concludes the designer on his quirky typeface.
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.