On a visit to Belgium and the Netherlands while still an MA student at Reading University, Eleni Beveratou made some important discoveries. First, there was the letter ‘g’ from the Didot family seen at Plantin Moretus Museum in Antwerp, which seemed “almost like a mistake”. Then there were strange details such as the serifs on the “l”, “h”, “k”, “b” 
and “d” in Egmont Cursive and other typefaces by Sjoerk Hendrik de Roos, found in volumes of poetry she picked up from a chaotic bookshop in Amsterdam.

These were characters that stood out from the text but seemed to blend harmoniously with the rest 
of the letters. “And there it was, the spark. 
I decided to design a typeface that would capture the details of the process of writing.”

A guiding hand
A guiding hand

Eleni shared her initial thoughts with Phil Garnham and Jason Smith. They liked what they saw in her tentative first sketches, and gave her the chance to develop her ideas further. Phil, in particular, provided valuable input as FS Olivia took shape.

Eleni’s main influence – the handwritten – would give the font its character. “When creating a typeface,” says Eleni, “it’s fair to say that it reflects some of the designer’s personality. And that’s certainly the case with 
FS Olivia.

“Although technology is part of my everyday life. I am a great admirer of traditional graphic design where you can touch and feel paper and ink.”

A guiding hand

“What I particularly like,” says Eleni, “is that a printed item can develop its own personality sometimes as a result of imperfections in the print.

“FS Olivia has some of 
these characteristics as it’s inspired by handwriting, 
and yet it also includes some 
very modern features.”

Feminine and fascinating, FS Olivia captures the expressive twists and turns of (the poet’s?) pen on paper, with low junctions, 
deep top serifs and semi-rounded edges.

Round outstrokes contrast with 
the rough corners of the instroke, while strong diagonals and inclined serifs create a richly textured pattern.


It’s only fitting that there should be a version of this poetic font for one of the birthplaces of poetry and song. Eleni, who hails from Athens, developed an extensive range of glyphs that could be used for the Greek language, in both modern and ancient texts.

For the latter, there is a version of Olivia for displaying polytonic Greek (a system that utilises a range of accents and “breathings”), which brings the 21st century technology of OpenType to the presentation of poetic texts from Ancient Greece.

Just think what Homer could have done with that.

Figures & Currency (Tabular Lining)
Mathematical Forms
Superiors & Fractions
Punctuation & Marks
Discretionary Ligatures