Recta by Aldo Novarese

marcosdopico's picture

I'm looking for information about Recta, a sanserif typeface by Aldo Novarese designed in 1958 while Novarese serving as the art director at the Nebiolo type foundry.Its considered a version of Helvetica/Univers in Italy. Does anyone have information about this typeface? images? typespecimen?

thanks ¡¡

Stephen Coles's picture

I know someone who has some specimens. I'll ask if they can share some images.

marcosdopico's picture

Thanks Stephen

Stephen Coles's picture

I sent you some info via the contact form, Marcos. Check your email.

Antonio Cavedoni's picture

Hi Marcus. There is some stuff on the Web, like this post on that shows some pictures. I have a complete specimen back at my office but I’m moving back to the UK tomorrow so I won’t be able to access it any time soon. Lots of people have Nebiolo specimens these days, anyway. Recta is indeed a pretty big family modeled after Frutiger’s Univers in the sense it has the same kind of rational system behind its weights/widths.

As far as I know there aren’t any available good digital versions. A guy called Derren Wilson posted to his blog a call to arms to digitise Recta in 2002, then started doing it himself a couple of months later, but as far as I know he never went further than what’s posted there: lowercase, uppercase and numbers from a single weight with no italics and dodgy spacing, unfinished.

The biggest issue with reviving typefaces from Nebiolo is related to licensing anyway. In some cases it’s easy to attribute the design to a single individual such as Novarese, but it’s unclear wether the rights to some other designs belong to him (thus to his heirs) or to Nebiolo, or maybe to some other designer like Alessandro Butti or Giulio da Milano or… If they belong to Nebiolo, which closed in the 70’s, as far as I know what was left of the company was sold to FIAT, Italy’s main automobiles producer, but tracking exactly a contact to enquire about the rights to the Nebiolo stuff sounds like a nightmare in such a big organisation.

Not all is lost though: there’s a small group of people including me, Claudio Piccinini, Piero De Macchi, Enrico Tallone and others, who are actively researching Nebiolo’s history so maybe things will become more clear in the future. When exactly I can’t tell now, but that is my hope.

Nick Shinn's picture

Its considered a version of Helvetica/Univers in Italy.

Looks more like Avenir.

marcosdopico's picture

Thank you Verbosus.

I am researching the revival of neo-grotesque in the last decade.
Graphik typeface by Christian Swchartz are revival of German typefaces in the 19th
century or early 20th century. That's why I asked for Recta, one of
the typefaces that inspired Christian in the design of Graphik as well
as Plak by Paul Renner, Neuzeit Grotesk by Wilhelm Pischner, Folio and Maxima by Gert Wunderlich in Typoart foundry in RDA.

I just found an article on Novarese in EMIGRE (no. 26 spring
1993) and in Etapes nº 13.

If you could send me some pictures about Recta you appreciate :)


piccic's picture

Looks more like Avenir.
You are right Nick, in the sense that Recta appears a good compromise between Helvetica and Futura/Erbar. I always liked it because it's warmer, compared to Helvetica.

Marcus: information, specifically on Recta, are not easy to find. They did not worry producing so much literature and analisys about type designs, they were more likely to proceed through work, and to concentrate on the work's results afterwards.

James Mosley's picture

The Tipoteca at Cornuda (Treviso) has an archive of Novarese’s own work. Have you asked them what there is relating to Recta?

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