Semplicità by Alessandro Butti

mrjono's picture

Hi,

Does anyone know if anyone has ever made a digital version of Semplicità by Alessandro Butti? I love the mix of futura and other european art deco faces!

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oldnick's picture

Someone has been thinking about it, but it's in the middle of a queue of a LOOOOONG to-do list...

mrjono's picture

Wow, someone has done it!?! For Free? This requires closer inspection!

How do you feel about Studio Dilena's efforts Oldnick?

I think the A's crossbar looks a little high compared to the image I posted. It's hard to tell without an original type spec in front of me tho.

It's also hard to tell if the E's underbite is too pronounced or not, it looks like it might be but I wouldn't like to say it is just from the small image I posted.

The lower case u looks a little suspect as well. And overall, the whole lower case looks to have more constricted counters perhaps than in the image.

It's so hard to say, I know there is a type spec book kicking around with a full page of Semplicità, maybe that's what Studio Dilena used and they are actually much closer to the mark than I think.

Any type designers have a valuable opinion they'd care to share?

.00's picture

The lowercase a is dreadful.

mrjono's picture

a dreadful design? or a dreadful rendering of the original drawing? or both?

ncaleffi's picture

For anyone interested in this typeface, Semplicita Pro, a contemporary revival of Butti's masterpiece, has just been released. It's been designed by Bill Troop and Patrick Griffin:

http://new.myfonts.com/fonts/canadatype/semplicita-pro/

Also check the pdf:

http://origin.myfonts.com/s/aw/original/124/0/63655.pdf

It looks like a very serious effort.

F l a n k e r's picture

The updated link is http://www.studiodilena.it/index.php/nova_semplicita.html?lang=en

Hi .00, I'm the author of the font (Semplicità by Studio Di Lena). As always, I love well-detailed technical comments: so why don't you tell me what's wrong with the lowercases?

To mrjono: yes, the font is free. The A crossbar, as well as the font thikness and ascenders and descenders vary greatly with the size of the original (as a font lover, you must know it!). You can find some example here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/n1ke/1483278380/, were you can compare some letters of different sizes.
My font is taken from size 36 (here an example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fountaineer/278176910/)

hrant's picture

Leonardo, thank you for reviving this thread.

It's interesting that after 80+ years two revivals pop up around the same time. Which one came first?

Also, are there no rights issues? I'm not sure but I think Nebiolo's rights ended up with Neufville.

That "a": I personally like it (there are other things I don't though) but I think it ended up looking better at Canada Type.

BTW it's nice to see that Bill Troop is still active in type.

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

My effort was to try to make the font like the original. I've used it for a business card, and I must to say is that it worked just fine.

The Canada Type is a very good font, but:
- The capital B is too different from the original (too wide and too optical corrected).
- The capital G has the orizontal bar too high.
- The capital J is invented.
- The capital L is too wide.
- The capital P is different (the bowl has a totally different shape).
- The capital R is absolutely wrong (too wide and the leg is too angled).
Strange enough, they made a very good work with the lowercases (strange cut at the base of the lowercase J, and strange lowercases H, M and N, but I think they get the spirit of the other letters), but numbers are totally invented.

PS: I've published the font in the October of 2010, the Canada Type is of the August 25, 2011 (according to what is written on MyFonts).

hrant's picture

It's possible they got the idea for doing a revival from you.

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

Maybe, but I don't think so. Regarding my font, I've found some mistakes:
- some letters (A, M, ...) lacks of the geometric corrections in the apexes.
- Capital A: I think mrjono was right about the crossbar...
- Capital U is not exactly the same.
- the points of the lowercases I and J are wrong (they must be elongated in some way).
Probably I can manage to address these and other errors with a new version.

hrant's picture

If/when you make a better version, better to sell it, not give it away.

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

Thank you for implicit appreciation!
However, I will write here as soon as I finish the job.

.00's picture

F l a n k e r

Hi .00, I'm the author of the font (Semplicità by Studio Di Lena). As always, I love well-detailed technical comments: so why don't you tell me what's wrong with the lowercases?

My comment was on the lowercase letter a, which is entirely too black/dark/dense when viewed against the other glyphs. It may be what was in the original, but then the original would have been dreadful as well.

hrant's picture

But then what about the "s"?
I thought you meant the structure, since I myself wouldn't use "dreadful" to describe a somewhat heavy/clotted glyph.

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

Hrant, you have found propbably one of the Achilles' heel of the font. The "s" is wrong (but I like it, is so vintage). The "dreadfulness", as you said, is due to my stubbornness in keeping constant the size of the strokes (yes I like the grotesk fonts).

The "a" was very close to the original, at last the original from the source that I have (Manuela Rattin, Matteo Ricci, "Questione di carattere. La tipografia in Italia dal 1861 agli anni settanta"), but I can try to improve it. Sincerely I hoped that to judge a font it was necessary, at least, its superficial knowledge.

Since I am really overworked I probably would not be able to finish the font for a couple of months... If someone of you can provide some good source, it will very appreciated!

F l a n k e r's picture

I almost forgot, there is a good copy of the font and it is named Simplo (here the medium version: http://www.myfonts.com/fonts/durotype/simplo/medium/)

oldnick's picture

Flanker,

I agree that the durotype version is not only good, but it is substantially better than any of the other attempts at revival of this workmanlike, if somewhat quirky face. IMHO, Butti had a unique, if somewhat madcap vision of letterforms which manifests itself consistently across the body of his work.

piccic's picture

None of the versions is actually faithful to the original, but given the difficulty non-italian designers must have had to acquire specimen material, I agree Durotype’s version is acceptable (but pretty "invented" in the heavier weights). Plus, all these do not take into account the point sizes: Semplicità was not super-accurately crafted as Simoncini faces would have been, but the small sizes in lead were adequately designed, and spaced.

@oldnick: I assure you Semplicità is not merely an average "workhorse": as you’d see with printed material at hand it has a quite unique personality, and in Italy it has been a very important typeface.

I have been working on a proper digital version of it, as I mentioned to Patrick Griffin last year, but it takes ages. It is a very important typeface for me, and I can’t stand those versions, although I appreciate the rough attempt done by Flanker (which should have been the first: I dreamed of a digital version since I started my interest, in the late 1980s).

oldnick's picture

@oldnick: I assure you Semplicità is not merely an average "workhorse": as you’d see with printed material at hand it has a quite unique personality, and in Italy it has been a very important typeface.

Did I say anything different?

Té Rowan's picture

@oldnick – Nope, but not everyone knows off-hand that 'workmanlike' can mean 'well done'.

F l a n k e r's picture

@piccic: I didn't know that you were working on a digital revival project of this font. My version do not want to be nothing more than a free font and an interpretation of mine of the Semplicità.

I would really like a reconstruction 100% faithful to the original (also with various optical sizes, why not!). If you believe it appropriate, we may join forces to speed up the project.

@all: I can assure that when printed, this font was absolutely awesome. As I said I've used my version for some business cards and the result was very good.

hrant's picture

nothing more than a free font

That's not really doing Semplicità a favor...

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

That's your thaughts hrant. But I think you have already expressed your opinion, that moreover I have understood and thaken it into account.

F l a n k e r's picture

Update: thanks to :nike from Flickr I've got new hi-res original specimens to study. :nike gave me some scans of his specimen book from Nebiolo.

F l a n k e r's picture

OK, now I've some spare time for start to work at the new font. If someone knows any particular about the design please share here, thanks a lot! For starting I'll make three weight: light, demi and heavy (as per catalogue names).

F l a n k e r's picture

Hi! Works proceeds well, but it's hard to find good originals. Here I found a interesting example of a publication that mainly uses this font: http://www.museotorino.it/resources/pdf/books/206/#/24/

Nick Shinn's picture

Wow, that’s a spectacular book.

F l a n k e r's picture

Yes, indeed. I'll try to get as more details as I can also from this "source"... But I can't find a good tilde anywhere, LOL!

My plan is to rename the actual Semplicità in Nova Semplicità (that work is not so awful like someone said before: style very often go before conventions or optical corrections) and to relase the new font free to download from my web site.

hrant's picture

To me, making it free would be somewhat of an insult to Butti.

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

Finally! I've published the light weight on my site: http://www.studiodilena.it/index.php/semplicita_light.html together with some details about it. It is super detailed on the original from Romesh Naik and other i found so far. Please tell me what do you think about it!

hrant's picture

Nice to see trapping!

hhp

F l a n k e r's picture

Yeah, I've tried to catch them all!

Weltempfaenger's picture

Hi Flanker,
just wanted to thank you for your work on this very special typeface.
Patrick

F l a n k e r's picture

And thank you for your kind comment!

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