Antique Olive

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Antique Olive
ClassificationHumanist sans-serif
Designer(s)Roger Excoffon
FoundryFonderie Olive
Date released1962-1966
Design based onGill Sans

Antique Olive is a humanist sans-serif typeface ("antique" being equivalent to sans-serif in French typographic conventions). Along the lines of Gill Sans, it was designed in the early 1960s by French typographer Roger Excoffon, an art director and former consultant to the Marseilles based Fonderie Olive.[1] In addition to a basic weight, Antique Olive was produced in medium, condensed, wide, bold, condensed bold, extra bold (known as Antique Olive Compact), and ultra bold (known as Nord).[2] The key shapes, especially the letter O, resemble an olive, which is one of the characteristics which make Excoffon's typefaces unique. It was used in the Sesame Street ending credits from 1978-1983.

Lewis Blackwell later commented on the design, "An attempt to offer a more refined sans serif than presented by Helvetica and Univers, but it was too characterful and too late to be widely adopted outside France."[3]

The face was later made available in cold type and digital versions are now offered by Adobe Systems and Linotype. A limited set of styles digitized by URW++ are available with GhostPDL (part of the Ghostscript project) under the Aladdin Free Public License.[4][5]

Kontour Type designed the Utile typeface, inspired from the Antique Olive typeface.[6]

Robert Huber designed the LL Moderne typeface, which based on the Antique Olive typeface.[7]


  1. ^ Provan, Archie, and Alexander S. Lawson, 100 Type Histories (volume 1), National Composition Association, Arlington, Virginia, 1983. pp. 16-17.
  2. ^ Jaspert, W. Pincus, W. Turner Berry and A.F. Johnson. The Encyclopedia of Type Faces. Blandford Press Lts.: 1953, 1983, ISBN 0-7137-1347-X, p. 2408-249
  3. ^ "Antique Olive". The Typehead Chronicle. 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2011-10-20.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "URW font ttf conversions". Ghostscript. Archived from the original on 2015-09-19. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  5. ^ "GhostPDL License". ghostscript SVN. Archived from the original on 2015-03-29. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  6. ^ "Game, set, match: Utile aces all your type needs". Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  7. ^ "LL Moderne". Retrieved 18 May 2021.

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