Looking for native Cyrillic readers to take a look at my attempt.

Hi all,

I've been working on a geometric sans with some '70s flair, and am nearly done. It is based on typefaces like Bauhaus and Ronda, and is intended to act as a more up-to-date alternative to these with many weights, an optically correct italic, opentype features, etc.

I decided to broaden my horizon and attempt a Cyrillic--especially since the letterforms of this typeface are fairly basic, this seemed like a good place to start.

However, I have no clue whether the letters I've drawn look natural/legible to native speakers/readers, and would love their feedback. All of this is based on scraps of information found on the internet, and simply observation.

Presented here are the thin, regular and black weights. I have a few more intermediate weights and an italic.
I've attached a PDF version for more detail.

I'm also open to other CC on the Latin and such: if you see something, say something. I'd like for this typeface to be as close to professional quality as I, a beginner, can get it. Thanks!


  • ronotyporonotypo Posts: 13
    Hi there, not native at all, but:
    1. I'm pretty sure the horizontal bar in Њ should be connected to the bowl on the right-hand side of the glyph. See here
    2. The angles in Ж might need to be lower and "flatter". See here. Also the descending legs are expanding a bit too far outwards.
    3. The Х looks to narrow to me. 
    4. The У tail appears to float a bit too high above the baseline. 

    Hope this helps! :) 
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,620
    I highly recommend asking the ones on TypeCritCrew!
  • Matthijs HerzbergMatthijs Herzberg Posts: 11
    edited June 30
    @ronotypo Thank you very much, very helpful.
    I can see everything you're saying (and now that I'm looking at it, X is too narrow in Latin just as well).

    I am curious about Њ, though (and Б Ъ ЪІ Ь consequently), whether staying true to the traditional form would be more important than applying the stylization that is also applied to letters like B, P and R. I'd be interested to hear from a Cyrillic native speaker whether the Њ is clearly wrong, or if it works within the context.

    @Hrant H. Papazian  Good suggestion, I'll check it out.

  • I find those sharp inward cuts (B, P, R…) highly irritating.
  • Stefan PeevStefan Peev Posts: 70
    @Matthijs Herzberg Your /ж is a Bulgarian one as a letterform model but your /к is a Russian one. Don't mix Bulgarian and international Cyrillic letteform models. Russians are very sensitive to non-compliance with the international Cyrillic alphabet.
    I agree with @Andreas Stötzner about (B, P, R...).
  • Rafael CasesRafael Cases Posts: 26
    edited June 30
    Hmm...I'm neither a native user nor the best judge when it comes to transporting a Bauhaus-style geometric typeface into other alphabets, but do you have a good reason for us to accept your treatment of / B, / P, / R, / в, / Ъ, / Ы, / Ь, / Ѣ, and / Я?  You'll also need the jusy / Ѧ, / Ѩ, / Ѫ, / Ѭ for certain dialects of Bulgarian / Macedonian and Old Church Slavonic.
    Take @Stefan Peev seriously here.  The Latin treatment is veering towards the decorative instead of a text typeface.
  • @Stefan Peev Good catch on /ж!

    @Rafael Cases @Andreas Stötzner The diagonal cut on the joint of letters like B, P, R, etc, was inspired by/taken from a typeface called Churchward Design 70, a contemporary of Ronda and Blippo and Bauhaus. To paraphrase Maggie Simpson, I just think its neat. And I should've been clearer perhaps, but this isn't intended to be a text face at all--at most a short paragraph's worth of text set in the regular weight, but mostly display, much like the typefaces this is based on.

    That said, I'm not trying to get defensive here and welcome everyone's opinions on how to make my work better. I think the cuts look cool at a larger size, but might have fallen into the trap of judging a letter by how it looks when it fills my entire screen. I can see how they become eye-dirt at smaller size. I could open them up more and see how that looks. Suggestions welcome.
  • … The diagonal cut on the joint of letters like B, P, R, etc, was inspired by/taken from a typeface called Churchward Design 70, a contemporary of Ronda and Blippo and Bauhaus. To paraphrase Maggie Simpson, I just think its neat. And I should've been clearer perhaps, but this isn't intended to be a text face at all--at most a short paragraph's worth of text set in the regular weight, …
    It certainly has merits to venture out and try such a feature, even if it is uncertain (or questionable) that it’ll work or not. But then you’ll want to emancipate from the initial idea and evaluate what the result of the operation is going to look like. And my impression is, of the present state of your design, that the shapes with that particular detail don’t blend sufficiently with those glyphs which come without it. That is a challenge. Text or display face, at the end you’ll want to have a consistent suit of shapes working well as a typeface, however peculiar the underlying ideas may have been.

    It is a painful process, I know. Welcome …
  • @Andreas Stötzner Good point. "A beautiful group of letters, not a group of beautiful letters" reiterated. I don't feel ready to abandon the cuts altogether, but I am re-evaluating them with a critical eye. Thank you.
  • I'm sorry, but I don’t quite understand the style of the font. Strong grotesque (-w-) and Bauhaus (-m-) are somehow mixed here. Moreover, for the Cyrillic alphabet this mixture looks strange. Of the obvious - the Bulgarian form -ж-. -Лл-'s bad leg, narrow -Ыы-, strange -ф-. For me personally, such -у- form asks for -и- u-like form.

  • @Olexa Volochay Thanks for your reply! Let me respond point by point:
    - I have made alternatives to /A, /N, /M, /W, /w, that use round, arched forms, but personally prefer the sharper forms with diagonals. Definitely not trying for anything grotesque, but have taken a few pointers from Futura where I found the rounded Bauhaus/Ronda shapes to be kind of ugly.
    - I have fixed ж on @Stefan Peev's recommendation since I first posted here.
    - May I ask what you would suggest to improve Лл?
    - Is the issue on /Ы/ы that the Ь and I should have more space between them?
    - /ф is meant to match letters like /p and /d, where there is a cutout where the bowl connects to the stem. These cutouts were rightfully criticized earlier, and I'm working on changing them. That said, do you think it is simply too wide?
    - I don't really understand your last point, sorry.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 590
    Yes, although I'm not a native Slavic-language speaker, the ф, being topologically different, turning a 0 into an 8 in effect, is likely to be problematic even in a jazzy display typeface. And someone else noted that ж is in a form specific to Bulgarian.
  • Olexa VolochayOlexa Volochay Posts: 9
    edited July 4
    Matthijs Herzberg ф is not combination. Plz, read this (there are other points to consider) - https://leksandra.livejournal.com/115861.html
    + see Paratype Bauhaus as exapmle.
    About last point.
    You make rounded -y-.But in the Cyrillic this is not supported by anything, there is not a similar letters. Therefore, it would be logical to make (и, й) as a classic Latin -u-

  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,532
    Mostly, Art Deco Cyrillic lettering was very blocky, with the style based on arcs of circle (rather than just rounded corners on an orthogonal framework) being rare. However, I did find this for reference, by Grigori Bershadsky, 1928.

  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 534
    edited 4:45AM
    (Native speaker here)
    Currently, you have material for at least 3 fonts in this specimen, so that's good! :) Discern what it is exactly that you want and we'll comment from there. You can build a good Bauhaus-ish font, a dull and practical grotesque, and a variation.
    I would rather point to the small things - the Russian Д,д for example, is notoriously difficult to get down. You almost have it, but there is still some imbalance between its two sides. Think of an r - if one is not sure how long the flag should be, one makes a version with a super short flag, and one with an extra long one, and the eye learns to judge correctly.
    The same way, the Bulgarian Ф is often done gigantic. In reality, especially in bolder weights, one needs to squish in vertically so it fits in with the rest of the font. Think of how a dollar sign uses an S without overshoots.

    I would advise against making historical letterforms. They are obsolete almost everywhere except for liturgical purposes, and you find them mainly in historical fonts which the churches have more than enough of, since at least two decades. Akademia also sticks to a certain set of fonts, here at least.

    In any event, use the site FileFormat to compare forms, and Wikipedia to know what should be done. There is an extended Cyrillic, mind you, but it's too soon for that just yet. ;)
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