Cyrillic Blackletter

oprion's picture

Here is an interesting find.
I was leafing through an old Russian font book from 1930, and came across a peculiar attempt at merging cyrillic with a blackletter aesthetic. I don't think the idea ever really caught on, as I can't remember any examples prior to the 90's (and no successful ones since)

Still, I wonder if this might be useful to someone attempting one.

bemerx25's picture

Wow! That's pretty interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Florian Hardwig's picture

Great! Thanks, Ivan.

Bernhard Schnelle has some more Cyrillic blackletter findings from Kyrgyzstan in his web gallery.

John Hudson's picture

Almost as strange as the Ethiopic blackletter I saw a few years ago.

See also the San Marco Cyrillic.

hrant's picture



paul d hunt's picture

it may not have 'really caught on', but i do recall seeing some Cyrillic black letter on some shop fronts when I was in St. Petersburg in the fall.

oprion's picture

I meant before the onslaught of the digital age.
Personal Art and Design Portal of Ivan Gulkov

guifa's picture

Hrm, well I had a little more fun with the capitals in my attempt, but I more or less have most of the lowercase ones there.

The solution for the н I like.

«El futuro es una línea tan fina que apenas nos damos cuenta de pintarla nosotros mismos». (La Luz Oscura, por Javier Guerrero)

twardoch's picture

And of course, there is Štorm’s gorgeous Moyenage:


Si_Daniels's picture

>Almost as strange as the Ethiopic blackletter I saw a few years ago.

On a beer label?

Dashen beer label font looks interesting...

... not 100% sure it's balckletter.

Maxim Zhukov's picture

Before the revolution of 1917 many Russian foundries carried both Latin and Cyrillic blackletter. Obviously, there was a demand for those types. I remember contributing a couple of samples to the exhibit Peter Bain and Paul Shaw put together in 1997. The fashion for blackletter in Russia started in the first third of the 19th century. Interestingly, the title page (or was that the cover?) of the first edition of Gogol’s Dead Souls—designed by Gogol himself—featured blackletter (the words Н. Гоголя):

Blackletter was shown in many Russian lettering manuals as late as in the 1920s and 1930s (what Ivan has found is not a type specimen but a lettering guide). Obviously, the demand for Cyrillic blackletter is still there. There are some fonts available for downloading on-line, all of them of questionable quality. Some attempts at Cyrillic blackletter, hand-drawn or hand-written, can be found in the books of Villu Toots.

John Hudson's picture

On a beer label?

No, in one of Daniel Yacoub's slides at a Unicode conference. It was similar to the Dashen beer label lettering though.

John Hudson's picture

Thanks for the Moyenage link, Adam: I had not seen this before. The heavy second line in the blue-backgrounded Cyrillic illustration is particularly convincing.

twardoch's picture

Yeah, Moyenage is a very believable effort. The forms do not look dodgy and the typeface isn't "copy paste", which is mostly the case with other Cyrillic blackletters.

John Hudson's picture

I don't think the wider variants work so well, though.

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