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An Incise for City Navigation

This is the story behind a pretty special navigation typeface designed for a city in the southwestern part of Russia, Belgorod (the name means White City) that has a long and dramatic history. Starting as a Slavic dwelling in the eighth century, and became an important fortress defending the state border from numerous enemy attacks in the sixteenth century. For that reason, the city was completely destroyed three times. The most recent was in 1943 by the Nazis during World War II. The city was fully rebuilt in the 1940s and 1950s with wide, straight streets and a lot of open space. As Belgorod decided to change its address wall plaques that showcase, and sometimes create, the city’s personality and style; a new navigation font was needed. The font had to be extremely readable because of the wide streets, needing very large x-height and generous spacing. Another important requirement for the new font was to reflect the city’s spirit: a combination of the former fortress and the new clean, well-maintained city. The city’s utmost desire to combine history and beauty, showcasing southern Slavic heritage with a hint of calligraphic tradition. Starting from the idea of thickened terminals, which are sometimes used in fonts designed for readability; the final type was incised Serifs. The letters have broad-nib calligraphy logic in lowercase and a Roman monumental look in uppercase. Belgorod typeface performs as a highly readable, humanist Sans-Serif when it is seen from afar and turns into an elegant incised Serif up close. Most importantly, both the local designers and city administration liked the typeface from the first glance.


Alexandra Korolkova

Art director Paratype

Alexandra Korolkova is a Cyrillic type designer, type researcher, and type consultant. She has been working for ParaType since 2009 as the head of type design and, from 2014, as the type director. From 2009 to 2011, she participated in the Public Types of Russian Federation project (which included PT Sans and PT Serif) as the principal designer. She also wrote a book on typography for beginners in Russian (roughly translated as Lively Typography). She has won awards in many international type-design competitions (including Modern Cyrillic, Granshan, and ED Awards) and received the Prix Charles Peignot in 2013. アレクサンドラ・コロルコヴァはキリル文字書体デザイナー、活字研究家、コンサルタント。モスクワの書体ファンダリーであるパラタイプで2009年から書体デザイン長として勤務、2014年よりタイプディレクター。2009〜2011年にはロシア連邦公用書体プロジェクト(PT SansとPT Serif含む)に主任デザイナーとして参加。またロシア語でタイポグラフィ初心者用の手引書『いきいきタイポグラフィ』を執筆。モダン・キリル、グランシャン、EDアワーズなど国際的な書体デザインコンペで受賞、また2013年には数年に一度35歳以下の書体デザイナーに贈られるシャルル・ぺニョー賞を受賞。