Cypher was designed for the 'Serif' shape by Portmeirion, introduced in 1963 - the name was derived from the shape of the handles. Serif was initially sold in Cypher and Jupiter patterns featuring a raised relief finish, but the glaze finish on Jupiter proved difficult to perfect and it was quickly dropped. The most commercially successful range in the 'Serif' shape was Magic City, introduced in 1966.
Cypher was originally supplied by Susan Williams-Ellis as an exclusive order to a German distributer in olive green. While UK distributors initially only sold pewter grey and brown colours, the green glaze now seems to be the most common colour. There are also white and ice blue variations.