“Making every letter the same width is the mother of all design constraints,” says Matthew Butterick. “So when I see a well-made monospaced font, it’s like watching a magician do a really cool card trick.” In this case, the magician is Butterick himself with this new monospaced font family, FB Alix. The charm of FB Alix is that it’s not just another typewriter face — there are true cursive italics (with some lively swash cap variants), both lining and oldstyle figures, and optional proportional alternates for more conventional text setting. And best of all, FB Alix has plenty of verve.
How did he pull it off? He took monospacing seriously and went back to the source: a vintage IBM Selectric typewriter — in particular, a type ball called Prestige, which he used as the basis for the roman, and another called Light Italic for, well, the italic. Butterick noted that the characters were full of oddball details, which he chose not to sanitize too much for his designs. This gives FB Alix its distinctive spirit and a certain quirky, retro tone.
But nothing is lost in readability. The impressive trick was Butterick’s mastery in making small adjustments to just a few of the most awkward glyphs in order to create the option for a more customary typefitting, while still appearing authentically typewriterish. So, if you want a typewriter face that goes beyond mere nostalgia, then FB Alix belongs in your bag of tricks.
Regular, Italic, Bold, Bold Italic
FB Alix is available as OpenType fonts with both lining and oldstyle figures, plus stylistic alternates.