A 1969 Valentine

A Valentine for this day, February 14th:

Milton Glaser for Olivetti, 1969Poster design by Milton Glaser

When I was a young teenager, before I had any understanding of design, of what designers do and what it means, of what style outside of fashion can be, that design is no accident, that good fonts are carefully, painstakingly crafted, that architecture doesn’t just spring up overnight- I still felt these things on some visceral level, as one does. And when I passed a shiny vintage Valentine in the window of a shop, I stopped in my tracks. “A Valentine. I want a Valentine.” I didn’t know much, but I knew that joyful and lovely design was happening there.


Production of the Valentine rolled out in 1969. Designer Ettore Sottsass said of his creation: :

“(It) was invented for use any place except in an office, so as not to remind anyone of monotonous working hours, but rather to keep amateur poets company on quiet Sundays in the country or to provide a highly colored object on a table in a studio apartment.”

There is so much beautiful design work associated with various Olivetti releases. An entire post could be dedicated to their instruction manuals alone. Here are a few of my favorite posters from the Valentine campaign:

Milton Glaser for Olivetti Valentine, 1969

Olivetti Valentine, 1969

Olivetti Valentine, 1969

Olivetti poster

First and last by Milton Glaser. Others, artist unknown.

Giovanni Pintori Research has a nice collection of Pintori’s work for Olivetti over the years. Here are a few (click on individual images for larger versions):


Left to right, by rows: 1939, 1956, 1956, 1958, 1960

…finally, just for fun, here’s a Valentine in green, as well an earlier Sottsass design: the 1966 Olivetti Praxis.


BONUS: Happy Valentine’s Day!
A generous and beautiful gift via Xavier University Professor Richard Polt’s Classic Typewriter Page:
over a dozen free fonts made from actual typewriters.

Here is the collector himself photographed by Jeremy Kramer for Cincinnati Magazine:


And here are a very few examples of the fonts, my own favorites which I’ve downloaded for myself:

byron-photo-by-jeremy-kramer(Photo by Jeremy Kramer)

graphika-photo-by-jeremy-kramer(Photo by Jeremy Kramer)

ibmcexec(Photo via The Typewriter Database)

royal-deluxe-design-sponge(Photo via Design Sponge)

royal-portable-machines-of-loving-grace(Photo via Machines of Loving Grace)

Enjoy, and happy St. Valentine’s day!

Cincinnati Magazine
Classic Typewriter Page
Disegno: The Quarterly Journal of Design
Giovanni Pintori Research
Machines of Loving Grace
The Typewriter Database
Citing this page:
Solomon, Alana. “A 1969 Valentine.” Ortolana Studio & Press. Ortolana Studio & Press, 14 Feb. 2017.

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