The most famous Slovenian architect is largely known for his architectural works, but less so for his contribution to Slovenian typography. Plečnik did not only design the typography for many inscriptions on tombstones, monuments and façades, but also the graphical image of various printed materials. The typeface that was created is not a digitalisation of his sketches, but rather a reflection of the current state of design whose starting point is rooted in the principles and forms of Plečnik’s letters. Furthermore, the process of defining and developing the typeface was based on a detailed research of Plečnik’s life, his work and his teaching principles.

A typeface is a set of characters integrated into a uniform whole. Letters are only rarely used by themselves, in isolation; rather, they are combined to form words, sentences and texts. Although the Plecnik typeface defines the most recognised letterforms traced by Plečnik’s pencil, it is the aspect of the whole that played an even more important role in the design – a letterform that reflects Plečnik’s personality.

The process of developing the typeface began with a research of the archival material at the Plečnik House. The letterforms we obtained from the archives served as an inspiration for the sketches and parameters of the typeface, while recognisable forms and details helped to design a unique typeface.

The archive

The original sketches of the letterforms that Plečnik designed for his own works are safeguarded by the Plečnik House and range from the names of his plans to ideas for book covers. The examined content was divided into style segments, and the style that stood out the most and was chosen as the source material for further development is shown below.

Plečnik House 1

The style

When we focus on the plans for tombstones, monuments, covers and ex-libris, certain parameters seem to appear in various forms of letters. These parameters are geometrical letterforms, sans serif stroke endings, humanist angled stroke endings, and a low or barely visible contrast in the thickness of strokes.

The original sketches of the letterforms that Plečnik designed for for various signs and inscription 2

The sketches

The sketches that were inspired by the examined archive material. In order to better understand the letterforms, the development began with sketching. The detailed drawing of letters is not just a copy of Plečnik’s originals, but an understanding of the details of each individual parameter. The sketches show the design of the Plecnik typefaces through an overview of recognizable shapes, classical proportions and features within the Display style.

Variations of individual letters and introduction of diagonal stroke with narrowing at the junction of diagonals

The proportion

The first step reflects Plečnik’s tendency to use classical elements and shapes. In typography, the terms “classic” denotes the proportion between the width of letters, with reference to the letters carved into Trajan’s Column, completed in the 2nd century AD. If we take a closer look at the letters, we see that they are mostly of two widths – full-width and half-width of a square. Such a proportion is termed as the classical proportion and it defines the Plecnik typeface. The letters that Plečnik intended to use on façades, tombstones, inscriptions etc. are mostly majuscules, which strengthens the design features such as a classic proportion.



Width of letters in classic proportion of full-width and half-width of a square

Recognisable shapes

The character of the typeface reflects some of the most recognisable forms and details that originate directly in Plečnik’s sketches and represented our starting point. These were antiqua typefaces which Plečnik reshaped in his own way, gave them his personal trademark and created so-called recognisable shapes. He shook off strict rules, but nevertheless deeply respected the fundamental principles from which these forms originated. 3

The features below show development of digitized letter forms that are based on the sketches. The presented details define the entire Plecnik typeface. The middle horizontal stroke of the letter E is slightly extended on right. The diagonals of the letter K meet in a vertical stroke. The recognizable characteristic of the letter M in the upper left part is repeated in Plečnik’s sketches and used in Plecnik character set. The upper circle of the letter S indicates a recognizable Art Nouveau organic element.


Two versions

The two versions of the typeface are a reflection of Plečnik’s duality and boldness: a combination of the classic (Regular) and the modern (Display) styles of typography.


The style of the Regular style is a geometric sans, with no noticeable increase in the width of strokes. The forms originate from traditional principles of Classicism that show a respect for tradition. These characteristics serve as the foundation on top of which new forms are built, which in turn are used as the foundation for the Display style.


The idea for the Display style comes from Plečnik’s columns that grow wider from the bottom up – the so-called increase in diameter along the height of the column. This principle is expressed several times in the sketches of letters and was the reason for the Display style, which is even more distinctive and perhaps even more attributable to Plečnik.

Character Set


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A B C Č D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S Š T U V W X Y Z Ž 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 . , : ; … ! ? * # / \ ( ) – – — _ ‚ ’„ “ « » ‹ › $ € + − =

Test it yourself


Plečnik planned his projects in a comprehensive and thorough way from the initial architectural plan right down to the final details on the building – even inscriptions followed the main concept and therefore contributed to a carefully considered whole. Letter designs and ornaments, initials, inscriptions on monuments and tombstones, ex-libris, book covers, line breaks, plan designs – these are all part of Plečnik’s rich opus and have had a great impact on the overall image of Slovenian typography. All of the above is yet another aspect of Plečnik’s contribution to the Slovenian heritage and, indeed, the modern image of Slovenian identity, which emphasises the carefully considered, comprehensive and progressive.


1 Arhiv Plečnikove Hiše, fotograf: Matevž Paternoster, MGML..

2 Arhiv Plečnikove HIše, MGML.

3 Ettlinger, Or, Zabukovec, Dušanka (2008). Spogledovanje s piedestalom.
Sodobnost (1963), letnik 72, številka 6, str. 855-872.

4 Krečič, Peter. Plečnik : živeti za popolnost. Ljubljana: Beletrina, Zavod Za Založniško Dejavnost, 2019.

Note: The content on the black banners is referenced from the book Plečnik: Living for Perfection.

More about the project

The Plecnik typeface project was co-financed by the Ministry of Culture, Slovenia.

ministrstvo za kulturo

Thanks to Ana Porok, Evita Lukež, Lucijan Bratuš and Matej Zorec.

ministrstvo za kulturo