What a Great Typewriter

Posted inThe Daily Heller
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The Olivetti Studio 42 was designed in 1935 in Italy. It was one of the foremost modern machines in a line of iconic typewriters, which gave Remington a run for its money.

Established as the “first Italian typewriter factory,” C. Olivetti & C., S.p.A. was founded by Camillo Olivetti in 1908 in Ivrea, Italy. Adriano Olivetti, the founder’s son, was appointed to General Manager in 1932 and Chairman in 1938. His vision inspired a corporate style that raised Olivetti to a high plateau in Italian and European industrial design history.

Those who know the Olivetti graphic legacy have heard the name Giovanni Pintori, the long-time creative director, whose posters (below bottom), advertisements, packaging and showrooms left a durable impression on the consumer and corporate culture. He was not probably not responsible for the advertisement for the Olivetti Studio 42 (below) but this ad reminded me how the Olivetti Lettera 22 (designed by Marcel Nizzoli) was top on my wish list for five Christmases (until I finally received one when I was 12 years old).

Olivetti opened a showroom at 584 Fifth Avenue, designed by B.B.P.R in 1954. Often when walking down the avenue I’d stop to peck out a few words on the Lettera that was kept outside on a bolted stand. Primitive as the “interactivity” was, it was such an inspiration, I enrolled in the typing class and saved up for the machine, which I still have.


For more Steven Heller, check out Design Literacy: Understanding Graphic Design—one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.