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Styrene B in use: Native Retro by Mikhail Dashevsky

A nostalgic photo book that made the list of the 50 best covers of 2020 and the shortlist of European Design Awards

Sep 9, 2021

ag

  • Anna Gvirtz
  • Designer, art director

For me, working on a new project always starts with the painful search for a typeface. An ideal scenario is when an intuitively chosen font immediately fits in a complex grid. That’s exactly what happened with this book.

I love serifs more, and I feel them more. One of my favourite serif typefaces is Kazimir. Which is why I went to check what was new in type.today’s catalogue in the first place. And I found Styrene B — capacious, dynamic, stylistically close to the visual universe of Moscow of the 1960s-1980s from Dashevsky’s photographs.


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The book comprises four volumes. The first, second, and third volumes present photos, while the fourth contains the author’s comments to images, texts about him, his artistic biography… a wide variety of different contents. For this not to turn into a magazine layout, the typeface had to be concise, simple, to look good at different (especially small) sizes.


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The four volumes are brought together by a slipcase. There is a self portrait of Dashevsky on it — so powerful both in tone and content that it made it possible to afford white, almost empty, covers. Styrene B pulled it off 100%.

‘Native Retro. 1962–2002’ is essentially a biography of Moscow and the whole country for 40 years. Unfortunately, Mikhail Aronovich is gone, and we — everyone who was involved in this book — are extremely happy that he got a chance to hold it in his hands.


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The sans serif Styrene by Berton Hasebe is an experiment with proportions of letters. Its f j r t (usually narrow in most fonts) are wide and squared. The Styrene collection comes in two families: a more geometrical, wide A, — and a narrower and capacious, B. Cyrillic Styrene was developed by Ilya Ruderman.

Mentioned fonts