A look at the Bulgarian Cyrillic Letter „в“ (uni0432 / uni0432.loclBGR)

Stefan PeevStefan Peev Posts: 90
edited February 2021 in History of Typography

This is the beginning of a project to collect and systematize various forms of the Cyrillic letter „в“ (uni0432 / uni0432.loclBGR), used in painted fonts in the 20th century. So far, 50 cases have been selected, but new forms will be added in the future. Only Bulgarian sources were deliberately used, as the construction and use of such forms in Russia is limited in a relatively short period of time (in the middle of the 20th century), and the experiments do not gain wide popularity. The project may be of interest to people who are studying the history of the construction of the Bulgarian form of the Cyrillic letter "в" in the 20th century.


  • A worthwhile project! – However, I wonder if you consider dealing with other Bulgarian variant forms as well. For instance the к in your sample differs from the usual cyrillic shape and the letter next to the middle к (л?) seems also be peculiar. There are a few more candidates, of course.
    I wish you success and look forward to learn about your results, one day.

  • Impressive work, Stefan.
    That fashion of л is completely new to me, but I already love it. Had someone just the jolly idea of flipping a Latin r or is there something else behind this choice?
  • @Andreas Stötzner This form of the Cyrillic letter "л" is not very often used. We can find it between 1960-1990 years (mainly in a book cover design). There is no research on this issue so I have only suggestions that the form is connected with the condensed letterforms in XIX century fonts. See for example the newspaper New Bulgaria (1876).

  • @Stefan Peev That is super cool, thank you for sharing. Do you think the average modern day Bulgarian would have any trouble comprehending the /л you shared? How about other languages that use the Cyrillic alphabet?
  • @Matthijs Herzberg The average modern day Bulgarian wouldn't have any trouble comprehending the /л in the images above. It doesn't mean that such a letterform isn't a little bit strange and obsolete. As far as I know this letterform of /л someone can find only in Bulgaria, mainly on book covers and never in a text layout inside the books. There isn't a even a single digital font with such letterform model for /л.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,827
    This style of л is related to a form found in some Romantic (Didone) Cyrillic types and related lettering styles, as in this book jacket by Sergei Michailovich Pozharsky.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,827
    Some script styles use a similar construction, and one can imagine how, if these are written quickly, the two strokes with compress further, looking more and more like an inverted Latin r.

  • I transferred these observations both into a YouTube video and FontLab project. In the near future I'll create a repository of the project in GitHub. I hope the gathered over there information will be of help for better understanding of history of Bulgarian letterform model in XX and XXI century.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 1,068
    In the original example shown, another unusual letter form was the letter и. Of course, that one isn't very unusual, since even in Russian it's the standard form in italics.

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