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The fortieth day of passing is widely observed in Russia, not only by the Orthodox faithful.
Vladimir Venediktovich Yefimov, the pre-eminent Russian type designer and typographic expert, known to his friends as Volodya, or Jeff, died on the 23rd of February, at the age of 62.
Vladimir was born in Moscow on May 6, 1949. He graduated from Moscow Printing Institute in 1973 with a major in graphic art and design. Vladimir began his career as a staff designer at the Type Design Department of the National Printing Research Institute (NIIPoligrafmash). His professional development was influenced by his senior fellow colleagues Mikhail Rovensky, Isay Slutsker, Lyubov’ Kuznetsova, and Nikolay Kudryashov, all outstanding design professionals. From 1992 to 1998 Vladimir worked as a senior designer at ParaGraph International; in April 1998 he became one of the founders, and the art director, of ParaType, Inc.
Since then Vladimir designed more than 60 type families (more than 200 type styles), of which many are now well known, without exaggeration, to any Cyrillic user. Among them are Pragmatica, Adver Gothic (1989), Newton (1990), Petersburg, Didona (1992), Octava (1966), ITC Charter Cyrillic and Kis Cyrillic (1999).
Vladimir’s typefaces are widely recognized in the professional community world-wide for their superb quality. They won awards at many exhibitions and competitions, including the Certificate of Merit of the Academy of Graphic Design; the Grand Prix of the Golden Bee, Moscow International Biennial of Graphic Design; the Certificate of Design Excellence of the Type Directors Club, and others.
Vladimir taught a course in the history of type design at a number of Moscow-based design schools: Stroganov State University of Industrial Art; Higher Academical School of Graphic Design, British Higher School of Art and Design.
He authored, edited, and contributed to, many books on type design and typography, including a series ‘Great typefaces’ (Book 1: The Beginnings. Moscow: ParaType, 2006; Book 2: The Serifs. Moscow: ParaType, 2007); Language Culture Type: International Type Design in the Age of Unicode, John D. Berry, ed. (New York: Graphis, 2002); Russian editions of Peter Karow’s Font Technology: Description and Tools (Moscow, Mir Publishers, 2001), Erik Spiekermann’s Über Schrift (Moscow: ParaType, 2005), Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style (Moscow: D. Aronov, Publisher, 2008), Jan Tschichold’s The Form of the Book (Moscow: Art. Lebedev Studio, 2008).
Vladimir’s mastery of design, his talks at the international typographic fora, and his multiple, productive contacts with foreign colleagues, his profound and multi-faceted erudition, his irresistible charm and charisma—have secured the international recognition of the achievements of the Russian type design school. It is not least due to his efforts that the type design and production in Russia has been revived, and has caught up with the current international level.
Vladimir was a full member of the Academy of Graphic Design (since 1995), and its Vice-President (since 2012), a member of the Association Typographique Internationale (since 1996), and a member of the Moscow Artist Union (since 1997).
Vladimir’s typefaces, his books, his gentle charm and his lovely smile will remain with us forever.