Saturday, April 9, 2011

Hermes 3000 vs Valentine Typewriter typefaces - what do You think?

New - now with an example of the two digitalized typefaces

Hello Everyone :)
My book is almost finished so I wanted to ask your kind advice on an appropriate font to be used.  After a lot of thinking I ended up selecting the Director Pica of my Hermes 3000 (my first typewriter) but the fairly special "quadrata" of the Olivetti Valentine (not the first I received as a gift but one I hunted specifically for this font) is making me think. 

Oddly I never featured my first typewriter on this blog so here you can see some pictures too. 

As you can see from the typecast your help is needed.  To repay you from your kind help I will be more than happy to send you a free copy of the book and/or  a set of 3 field notes notebooks (or just in the case you don't want the book!!)
 Shipment included anywhere in the World.

Thanks again for your help !!
P.S Sorry for the typecast typos and mistakes --it is 2:35 AM and I did scan it immediately --"as a special typeface" should read "has a special typeface..." etc. etc. Now you know why I didn't write the whole book using a typewriter :)


  1. I vastly prefer the Director Pica myself. It just seems more human and elegant.

  2. I'd go with the Director Pica from the Hermes. The other is interesting but I'm not sure how I'd like to read a book-length text in that particular font.

  3. Richard and Wordherder - many thanks for your lighting fast reply that is much appreciated. This is very helpful as I am getting close to the deadline with the designer and the Director Pica is in pole position for now :-)

  4. Richard Amery, recently re-elected as an MP in New South Wales, Australia, wrote all his campaign material on one of these models, and declared it was one of the best typewriters he has ever used. Given the number of machines he uses, and the amount of typing he does, that is a high compliment indeed to this version of the Hermes 3000.

  5. I am slightly biased because my first and most favorite Hermes 3000 is also Director Pica, and I love the typeface. It's very readable and friendly and has more than a touch of elegance.

    On a purely technical note, books are almost always set in a serif typeface because studies seem to show that serif typefaces are much easier to read in text sizes. Sans-serif typefaces are more generally used for display-sized purposes and very short text blocks. The exception to this is on the web, where Arial is used waaay too much for body copy. (:

  6. I agree with Richard and Wordherder: the Director Pica typeface is stately and elegant, and the serif form will be familiar to readers while at the same time remaining distinctive enough to retain the feel of a genuine typewriter-created font, as you intended. The quadrata, however, would look out of place in a book-length text, and should only be used sparingly - it might be distracting if used for the entire book.

    Looks like the typosphere has chosen! Do give the order to your printer straight away, and congratulations on a job well done!

  7. Speaking from a design standpoint, I would also go with the Director Pica. Serif fonts, for all of their extra fanciness, actually have a tendency to draw the eye along the page, especially in dense textual situations where one might lose their place. Other than that, I personally happen to think that greater ethos is gained by avoiding sans-serif fonts.

  8. I beg to differ. As this is a book on money, and banking, if I understand this right, the Quadrata typeface seems most appropriate to me. It is more technical, but also stands out more than the Director pica. You sure would get some attention from it.

  9. Thanks again for your feedback :) Following shordzi comments I have now added one page using the digitalized version of both typefaces I think this is a more fair comparison as the digital version might differ and seeing a whole page might be more fair than just comparing a few lines. Both sample pages are now in the blogpost.
    Let me know what you think :)

  10. I think Quadrata is the more unique typeface and really stands out, but if I am going to read a book, textbook or not, I'd much rather read the Director Pica.

  11. I personally LOVE the "Quadrata" typeface, but if I were to read a book, I'd go with the "Director-Pica."

  12. The Quadrata is very distinctive and your digitized version is very clean and beautiful, but I will have to add my vote to Director Pica. That's the one I actually read the whole page of.

    can the prize package include copies of the digitized fonts as well as a copy of your book? :D

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  14. Deek, Matt Ted many thanks for your comments !
    Ted: the Valentine Quadrata is a font of that I paid around 500$ and I think is not sharable :( for the director pica I will be happy to share it or you can find one almost identic at

    To everyone: please email me your snail mail address at
    gurugeek (at) mac dot com this obviously if you want the book and the three field notes notebooks as promised :)

  15. Quadrata is more beautiful but it distracts the reader from the content. It's like the old saying that the mark of a great actress is not that we see this woman as Ophelia, but Ophelia as this woman.

  16. notagain: than you for your opinion that is very helpful and the very poetic and original comparison :D

  17. David, as a career designer of books, I unequivocally prefer the Director Pica for the text, for most of the reasons given above. One additional note, though, is that the Quadrata, in addition to being distracting, will soon appear as dated as all those books designed in the '60s, soon after Helvetica was released.

    But you are not foreclosed from Quadrata. If you have any illustrations or charts, use it for the captions. Consider it for tables if they are not too long. Consider it for the title, either on the title page and/or the cover.

    Thanks for throwing the question open to us all. It's great to read the comments and ideas.

    Michael Höhne

  18. Dear Michael,
    many thanks for your feedback. It means a lot to me !
    I do agree with you and the other comments. Another point is that the quadrata
    was professionally recreated by lineto hence it looks - at least to my eye -
    less authentic than my version of the director pica that comes from a scanning
    of this very typewriter.

    The whole idea of the book is to make it look like a typewritten manuscript
    and frankly I doubt that many students will see this if I use the quadrata.
    Mostly because the recreation of lineto is perfect and was done from scratch
    so it is in all senses a good digital font vs a scan of a typewriter that looks
    more artisanal and authentic. One difference is the effect of inked letters (small
    imperfection from the scan that are due to the difference ink on each letter)
    present on my font and obviously absent on the quadrata as there was no ink
    or scan used to produce the font :)

    Anyway I really feel privileged to have the feedback of professionals like yourself
    devoting some of your valuable time to my little dilemma. Thanks again :)
    Will be happy to send you a copy of the book and the three field notes
    notebooks if you like - my email for the address is on my previous comment.
    Sunny regards from Zürich

  19. I'd go with the Pica, but I'm no expert. I am, however, supported by a number of the comments. ;-)

  20. Definitely the Pica; elegant and not too Times-New-Roman-esque.

  21. I'd go with the Pica. It is a lot easier on the eyes even though the Quadrata seems like a simpler font. Definitely Director Pica

  22. Love the Hermes 3000 font!! Definitely nicer than the Quadrata font. I'm also living in Zurich, and have been hunting for a nice old typewriter on :) Have one potential Hermes there on sale but not sure if seller will ship (how heavy is this thing?) Looking forward to owning this piece of Swiss engineering soon!