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Bad and good cyrillic

It's amazing how little designers in our country know about their own letters. In the West, any design education begins with the basics - type and typography. Mandatory teach calligraphy, font history and give a good typographical preparation. I will not go into details why the ability to handle letters is so strongly reflected in the quality of the designer’s work, but believe me, the effect is impressive.

In our country, with the formation of designers tight, and font education is not at all. Only one course of Ilya Ruderman in BEVSD is trying to somehow fix this sad picture.

The font dowry we have is not a gift. The young Cyrillic alphabet, which has not yet been fully formed and has suffered a lot of cardinal changes in its history, requires centuries-old ottochki professionals. Nevertheless, this is our history and it must be known, cared for and handled with great care.
Western designers do not feel our letters and sometimes make serious mistakes. They have a great Latin, but the accuracy of the contour is not enough for high-quality font work - you need to feel. In my opinion, the highest quality Western Cyrillic alphabet is in Luc (as) de Groot . Even large and eminent Western agencies put on the market fonts with useless Cyrillic, which shows even more drama of the situation. I will selectively tell about what I came across.

MTS font

Recently noticed a new font in the promotional products MTS. I don’t know what it is called and who its author is, but I suspect that it was made by spontaneous type designers on the order of Wolff Olins . Cyrillic in it is simply monstrous.


The first thing that catches your eye is a terrible mistake - a reverse contrast in and . The connecting stroke in this letter is, for some reason, thicker than the main strokes, which can be achieved by a banal reflection of the Latin N and which is unacceptable in Cyrillic. Anyway, horizontal strokes in n , u , s , and all are different. B deserves special attention, the tail of which is chopped off almost half the letter, and for some reason, the right upper side is crushed. Quotes are rude and uncouth, and maybe even simply taken from another font.

Font Frank by Newlyn

Not so long ago, I caught the eye of Frank's new font, created by Newlyn, known for its identity work. Cyrillic appeared in this font, but it would be better if it was not there.


Lower case is extremely narrow, almost the width of N. Lowercase w is also narrow, but d , on the contrary, is quite wide - it was not enough for her to w . A strange tail b , ending earlier than expected and tapering at the place where it should expand. The left leg l also has an unfinished form and, as it were, “pressed its paw”. Briefly in th weak and too bounced off the letter.

And of course, Arial

Now in Russia, the most common font is Arial. We owe its popularity to Windows, in which Arial is the default. Back in the 82nd year, the company Monotype made it for Microsoft in exchange for the world-famous font Helvetica, for the use of which you had to pay license fees. Arial, in its essence, is secondary and completely copies Helvetica, except for a few moments. The Latin Arial font is very good, but the Cyrillic script was made by Western type designers without feeling our features. Of course, there is nothing so dreadful and crying, but the most popular type and claims in the country should be appropriate.

So, I will voice some subtleties:


The main errors in the proportions. Some letters are too narrow, and some are very wide. The capital K is very narrow, E is wide. L , as well as D, is also narrow and has too slight differences from P , which can complicate the perception or even turn into an error in case of bad typing. The bend of the left leg L should start higher and go smoother, and not be a straight stick with a hook at the end. F is very small. Its middle rack should be carried out a little up and down, and the oval should be increased.


Lowercase l , unlike the capital, on the contrary, too wide - wide with n . And the tail of b , which is one of the most beautiful parts in the Cyrillic alphabet, is brutally chopped off and too straightly arched.

It all seems trivial, but for the Cyrillic alphabet it is alien, ugly and, at times, interferes with reading.

There are also heroes in our country

These heroes are not that the country, but at least domestic designers should know by sight, because many of them gave years (and some even decades) of their lives to such extremely unpopular in our country, but very labor-intensive business, like type design. The matter is absolutely unprofitable, but the designer, plunged into it, can no longer get out of this fascinating occupation.

Tagir Safaev

The head of the author's font workshop in VASHGD. The author of Cyrillic versions of many known fonts, such as Officina , Swift , FreeSet and others. Made a lot of custom fonts that we see in many magazines.

Alexander Tarbeev

The head of the author font workshop, a famous teacher. Also the author of many Cyrillic and custom fonts. Of his works, I like most of all Afisha Serif, who uses the Afisha publishing house for his magazines.

Vladimir Efimov

Art Director of Paratype. Author of many fonts and cyrillizations, such as Charter , Newton or Kis . Famous teacher and author of many articles about fonts. In particular, I used his article in the magazine “KAK” to describe the problems of the Arial font.

Yuri Gordon

Owner of the letterhead studio. Author of many commercial fonts and the famous "Books about the letters from A to Z". He actively keeps his diary and column in the magazine “KAK” about fonts and his experiences with letters. Developed font Artemius.

Ilya Ruderman

Probably the most famous Russian type designer in the West. Author of many commercial fonts. Often makes Cyrillic versions commissioned by eminent foreign type designers. Curator of the unique in Russia course "Font and typography."

Valery Golyzhenkov

Co-owner of letterhead studio. Famous graphic and type designer. Author of many fonts. BHSAD teacher.

Vera Evstafieva

Former studio type designer Lebedev, who published many bright fonts and now works as a freelancer. Of her works, I like Direct the most.

Alexandra Korolkova

Head of font design studio Paratype. The author of the famous PT Sans , many other fonts and the book "Living Typography".

There are also specialists, but in fact, these are the only people in our country who are engaged in type design. I consider these people the only designers in the world who can draw a high-quality Cyrillic font. I mentioned them not for the sake of advertising, but for the design community to know who to turn to for quality fonts and whose name next to the name of the font can guarantee good Cyrillic.

Source: https://habr.com/ru/post/104399/

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