Russian typography

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Christopher Timothy Dean's picture
Joined: 22 Oct 2006 - 10:49pm
Russian typography
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I am developing an interest in Russian typography and have not yet started doing any serious investigation. Mostly researching the history, culture and economy of certain regions.

Can anyone recommend books, Russian typographers, type designers, type companies &c?

Thank you.

(I know who Kandinsky is.)

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Malevich, Rodchenko, El Lissitsky, and Popova.

Maxim Zukov would be the best source. He sometimes posts here.

This is a great book but not translated.

santiago orozco's picture
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Joined: 12 Jul 2009 - 12:47pm
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I found this very useful, also it's updated daily :), it's a collective of russian type designers
http://dailytype.ru/

Blank's picture
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Joined: 25 Sep 2006 - 2:15pm
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Malevich, Rodchenko, El Lissitsky, and Popova.

Malevich was not a typographer and the rest are hardly representative of Russian typography. For all the coverage historians give it, constructivism was really a short lived blip in the history of Russian art and design (to some extent because the state banned it entirely), but as with most of design, there’s much more to appreciate once you get out of the boring little box of modernism.

oprion's picture
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Joined: 15 Nov 2007 - 12:15pm
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A few books I can recommend:

Note: this is my own attempt at translating names and titles, they might be classed under different guises in catalogs and such.

Russian Graphic Design in 1880-1917, Elena Chernevich and Mikhail Anikst (Русский Графический Дизайн 1880-1917, Елена Черневич и Михаил Аникст) 1990 (Russian edition in 1997)
I couldn't find a good review page that didn't also include a download link, so I am not posting any.

Modern Typface, Villu Toots (Современный шрифт, Виллу Тоотс) 1966
http://www.callig.ru/node/27/

The Art of Type. Selected works of Moscow book artists in 1959-1974. By our own Maxim Zhukov (Искусство шрифта. Работы московских художников книги. 1959-1974, Максим Жуков) 1977
http://www.callig.ru/node/67/

Book hands in XVII century Russia, Kostukhina L.M. (Книжное письмо в России XVII в., Костюхина Л. М.) 1974
http://www.callig.ru/node/153/

Sadly, only the first book on the list has an English translation.

Nick Shinn's picture
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Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Sorry, James, I humbly bow to your enormous genius and beg forgiveness for my obvious indiscretion.

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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There is a sample chapter from that Yuri Gordon "Book of Letters" online: http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/izdal/kniga_pro_bykvy/

Enough to make you curious for the rest!

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Theunis and Christopher,
Even though I cannot read Russian, I still get plenty out of it. The shipping costs are just crazy from Russia, though.

j's picture
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Joined: 30 Jul 2004 - 1:49pm
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Yuri Gordon also has a blog (i mean a livejournal?!) I've been trying to follow. Google's Russian translations are beyond terrible but sometimes there are some really interesting bits. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fyurig...

Andreas Seidel's picture
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Joined: 8 Mar 2002 - 3:44am
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.

Michael Hernan's picture
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Joined: 24 Sep 2005 - 2:45pm
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/tck.

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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Dez, I can sort of "read" the characters but don't have a single idea of wot it means :-) (Same with Greek, actually.)

Somehow"Knyga" = "book" stuck into memory (in several languages: Greek: "biblio", but more correct should be "vivlio"; in Arabic, "kitab"). Simple extrapolation led me to believe it's a "Book of Letters from A to Z".

But I like the rhythm of written Cyrillic, in the way I like French rap songs. A bit like admiring a poem written in finest Japanese calligraphy -- no clue what everyone is so excited about but it sure looks good.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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"But I like the rhythm of written Cyrillic, in the way I like French rap songs. A bit like admiring a poem written in finest Japanese calligraphy"

I have the same rhythmic feeling with Indic scripts.

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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Joined: 8 May 2005 - 11:18am
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Dear Chris, my messages to you keep bouncing, so I am answering your query here.

  • Is it possible to buy a copy of your book?:
    The Art of Type. Selected works of Moscow book artists in 1959-1974. By our own Maxim Zhukov. 1959-1974,) 1977) 1977

Hmm, it looks like there is a number of mistakes in the above bibliographical reference.

  1. The real name of the book is The Lettering Art: Works by Moscow Book Designers, 1959–1974. Moscow: Kniga, 1977;
  2. This is not my book: only its design and layout are mine; the name of the editor is Evgenia Butorina; the foreword was written by Yuri Gherchuk;
  3. The main text of the book is in Russian; however, the designers’ bios, the captions, the summary, and the detailed list of plates is in 4 languages (Russian, English, French and German);
  4. For easier search and reference, the Russian title is Искусство шрифта: Работы московских художников книги, 1959–1974. Москва: «Книга», 1977.

There are still copies available, that’s for sure. The first offer I have found is Oak Knoll’s; however, it is pretty expensive. I hope you can get it for less somewhere else. See, they sell it for 5,000 RUB (171.70 USD)… And here (scroll down) the selling prices vary from 2,500 RUB (85.85 USD) to 6,000 RUB (205.49 USD). Even cheaper deals may exist… However, I have no idea what the delivery to the US might cost.

oprion's picture
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Joined: 15 Nov 2007 - 12:15pm
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@Maxim

Sorry for the confusion, I mean to write "Designed by our own Maxim Zhukov" but the first word has slipped.

Chris Lozos's picture
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Joined: 25 Feb 2004 - 11:00am
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Thanks, Maxim! I had better check my mail service provider and see what the problem is. I have received several emails from you prior to this over the past few years without any problem.

Chris

Andrij Shevchenko's picture
Joined: 2 Jun 2005 - 1:04pm
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and one more time:
„Cyrillic is not only russian”

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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Andrij, of course you are correct. That's why I usually state "I can read Cyrillic but I can't read Russian" (or Ukrainian, for that matter) ;-)

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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Joined: 8 May 2005 - 11:18am
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  • and one more time: “Cyrillic is not only russian”.
  • But of course… It’s just that Christopher Dean stated, most clearly, “I am developing an interest in Russian typography“. Now imagine someone saying, “I am developing an interest in French typography”, only to hear back that “Latin script serves other languages too”. What’s your point andrijko?

Andrij Shevchenko's picture
Joined: 2 Jun 2005 - 1:04pm
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i only want to say that „rhythm of written Cyrillic” is very different for different languages. it's my point, Maxim

Maxim Zhukov's picture
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Joined: 8 May 2005 - 11:18am
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This is certainly true.