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Making a modern classic: Nitti

Thanks to its versatility and style, the Nitti family by Bold Monday has become a modern classic. Since its initial release in the early 2010s, the Nitti family has grown to include four typefaces and has been used for everything from the popular iA Writer app to the LeBron 11 shoe microsite. Here, we’re looking at the four groups of styles within this family and what makes them so irresistible.

Named after Francesco Raffaele Nitto—better known as Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, one of the henchmen of Al Capone—the original monospaced typeface pays homage to the Grotesque sans-serifs of the early 19th century. According to Nitti designer Pieter van Rosmalen, “the quirky and often idiosyncratic shapes of these early English sans-serifs lend them the humanity and warmth still appreciated among many graphic designers today.”

Nitti
Nitti and Nitti Grotesk were used by Volta Studio for the Porto Academy identity in 2018. Source: Fonts In Use License: All Rights Reserved.
Nitti and Nitti Grotesk were used by Volta Studio for the Porto Academy identity in 2018. Source: Fonts In Use. License: All Rights Reserved.

Nitti

This monospaced face, the first entry in the family, is best known for its prominent role in the popular iA Writer desktop and iOS writing applications. Owing to this use, the small preliminary family was expanded and thoroughly optimized for screen rendering.

Unlike many monospaced typefaces, Nitti does not feel mechanical, but approachable and contemporary. 19th century shapes lend Nitti its humanity and warmth. Optimized for font-sizes down to 11 px, Nitti is well-suited for code samples or technical notes, where a more handsome and contemporary atmosphere is desired. It also works as a reader-friendly alternative when setting longer passages of monospaced text. It combines well with other grotesque-inspired typefaces like Titling Gothic and Salvo, or with sturdy serif typefaces like Benton Modern.

Nitti Grotesk

Nitti Grotesk

This proportional companion to Nitti focuses on versatility and includes seven weights and two widths. The relatively short uppercase letters make Nitti Grotesk particularly suitable for applications with frequent use of caps, as in titles and acronyms.

Nitti Grotesk is optimized for text sizes down to 14px and comes with OpenType features such as alternate characters for a and g and true fractions. It is easy to combine with serif faces of all sizes; for instance, pair it with the smaller Turnip RE and Kazimir Text, or the larger Belizio and Farnham Display.

Nitti Mostro

Nitti Mostro

Nitti Mostro adds a variety of display forms—outlines, inlines, stencils, and drop shadows. Based on the heaviest weights of Nitti Grotesk, it’s an 18-style behemoth, designed for setting big, bold display text. Style names like Disco Floor and Stripes Solo convey the fun factor in this type family, but what makes Nitti Mostro a typographic plaything is its capacity for layering.

Dirk Uhlenbrock's little Nitti creatures.
Dirk Uhlenbrock illustrated little creatures to add even more charm to Nitti Mostro.

This family consists of four sub-families: Nitti Mostro, with ten styles including Gradient and Chrome; Nitti Mostro Comic, a slightly rounded pair; the 1970s-inspired Nitti Mostro Disco in three styles; and Nitti Mostro Stencil, with three styles for clean or rough text treatments. Fonts within each sub-family were designed to layer together seamlessly, allowing for countless colorful chromatic effects and painless shadowing. As an added bonus, Dirk Uhlenbrock contributed drawings of nine fiercely adorable monster pictograms to Nitti Mostro.

In order to make Nitti Mostro headline friendly, Van Rosmalen made significant adjustments to his more traditional model used for Nitti Grotesk. Ascenders and descenders were shortened dramatically to allow for super-compact leading, and several forms were modified to achieve a tighter letter fit.

Nitti Typewriter

Nitti Typewriter

Another monospaced addition to the family, Nitti Typewriter adds five more flavors that add graphic flair to the original Nitti design: Normal, Open, Underlined, Corrected, and Cameo. Taking its cue from the creative explosion of the nineties, its characters are slightly weathered to render them more concrete and organic. The grunge styling sets the typewriter styles apart from Nitti yet is so subtle that it adds life to—rather than distracts from—the letters. You can almost hear echoes of clicking typewriter keys and sense ink on bond paper when you read—or set—Nitti Typewriter.

The Nitti family has already proven to be a flexible and versatile type system, and with every extension, it has become more capable. Designers are using it for everything from album covers to branding, from websites to signage. License Nitti through Type Network to use it in your next project.

All Bold Monday fonts are available for print, web, applications, and ePub licensing. Web fonts may be tested free for thirty days; desktop trials are available upon request. To stay current on all things Bold Monday, subscribe to Type Network News, our weekly email newsletter featuring designer profiles, case studies, type and design events, and more.