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The Origin of Egyptian characters

By blackening the grace - i.e. the orthogonal elongation at the ends of the letter - to the lapidary, Venetian and Bodonian types, we obtain a particular category of characters called with the exotic and fascinating name of "Egiziani".

Page with different Egyptian writings
Presentation of the Egyptian characters of a. Novarese in his educational book Alfabeta

But far from having any relationship with Egyptian architecture or writing, this family of characters owes its birth to the English type founder Vincent Figgins who devised the first example in 1815 almost simultaneously with the great archaeological discoveries carried out during the Napoleonic campaigns in Egypt.

Open book page containing depicted letters
Description of the design of an Egyptian character by a. Novarese in his educational book Alfabeta

The most probable explanation of the name of this series, according to some, derives from its adoption by Napoleon's troops to mark the packaging of merchandise exported from Egypt, while according to others it comes from having been explicitly chosen among the new characters of that period to celebrate, also graphically, the important historical-archaeological moment of that country.

page of a typographical specimen
Typographic specimen of the Landi font from the Nebiolo Foundry in Turin

In the Nebiolo catalog there will be 5 Egyptian characters in total and they will be grouped in the 300 series.

Landi and Nilo, introduced in 1939 and completed by Aldo Novarese in 1948, will be followed by Egizio, created jointly by Alessandro Butti and Novarese in 1953; Egiziano, produced only in the narrow round bold series and finally dattilo, the "Egiziano Moderno", the flagship of a 70s Nebiolo in profound transformation.

Open typographical specimen
Specimen of the Egyptian character from the Nebiolo Foundry in Turin

Egizio and Dattilo are part of our R41 collection of Egyptian characters.

Typographical specimen
Specimen of the Dattilo typeface from the Nebiolo foundry in Turin

The Egyptian font is versatile but prefers combination with sans serif fonts such as the linear family (Recta, Metropol, Equator and Divulga), written fonts (Elite and Alfabeta) and fantasy fonts such as Estro and Center.

Written page
Table of character combinations by A. Novarese


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