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Calendar 2022: The City

While we divide our typefaces into serifs, sans serifs and display fonts, Alexandra Zhdanovskikh, a third-year student at the HSE Art and Design School, came up with her own classification.

Nov 18, 2021


  • Alexandra Zhdanovskikh
  • Higher School of Economics Art and Design School student

In this module, we were supposed to make a 2022 calendar; there was no rigid framework — some people brought up a block of 365 pages, whereas others opted for just 12 pages, and everyone of us chose a topic themselves. I decided to design a typographic calendar, about and tomorrow catalogues, and started thinking which principle should underlie my choice of fonts.

I identified several categories. I labeled the first ‘for someone’. It included typefaces that were developed for a specific project and then further elaborated. For example, Windward grew out of sketches for the titles of the documentary Sasha from Russia, the Lurk collection was designed for Yury Dud YouTube channel, while Big City Grotesque — for the Bolshoy Gorod (Big City) magazine. There are lots of such typefaces, but this topic seemingly has no single shared visual theme.

There was also a group of typefaces with a specific historical prototype: Signal’s design is based on the French Caractère, Kazimir is inspired by the typeface used in the old book History of Russian Literature.

Then, there was a category called ‘Legacy’. Those are typefaces associated with a certain phenomena which is important for a certain culture or place. For instance, one of CSTM Xprmntl 03 styles is literally Cyrillic Ustav, while Epos started from the most popular Minsk-produced beer.

And, finally, there were typefaces related to the city. I counted 12 of them and then found out that ESH Print had already designed a calendar utilising tomorrow’s fonts, last year, and got very upset — I didn’t mean to be repetitive. Yet, eventually, ESH Print calendar turned out to be my key reference — I used the same format, borrowed their certain solutions.

I introduced the descriptions of typefaces on a snap-out set under the calendar grid and tried to make graphics translate the relation of the typeface to the city. For example, Signal, which was designed based on French navigation signage, ended up on a road sign, while the dates on the calendar page using Cera Stencil look more like phone numbers on the pavement.

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While I was trying to get the history of typefaces out of their plasticity and somehow connect it to the urban theme, I’ve grown used to them. All of them are distinctive, and yet so different. Before that, I worked only with CSTM Xprmntl 02 Italic, as far back as in my first year, — bending and stretching it in various ways, — and that was my first real experience of working with typography.

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I particularly liked Curbe (which is in charge of March) —  it comes in just one style, however equipped with four sets of alternates. Fud Grotesk as well, January. The first page I came up with was the one using Halvar Stencil — that is a stencil typeface, and the solution was rather obvious. But I just couldn’t come up with a Norbert page up until the last moment — neither Schmal, nor Breit style, — but it also worked out well, eventually.

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Mentioned fonts