Ilya Ruderman: Dala Floda is a typeface by Commercial Type. Designer Paul Barnes managed to combine two big visual concepts in one project: on the one hand, that’s a Renaissance serif, while on the other hand it’s a stencil typeface — bright, display, with holes. With his Dala Floda, Paul Barnes anticipated a broad range of typefaces that exist in this paradigm: geometricity, simplification, stencil-ness, historic allusions.
The author said that the typeface had started from the logo. Then it was turned into a headline typeface of the British contemporary art magazine, Frieze. Later all this grew into a huge family which was equipped with a sans version, Dala Moa, and a super decorative one, Dala Prisma.
The family is very popular, but Cyrillic is available only in Dala Floda. This was an interesting and difficult project, since I had to look for the right ways to simplify. The typeface looks half-erased — Barnes mentioned that he was inspired by the old tombstones, — so the graphics is marked by lots of innuendos, unspoken things, such as the letter м — the symbol is read from nothing but a few lines.
I needed to figure out this kind of simplicity for Cyrillic. I had to make compromises for a few times and resort to questionable, controversial solutions, such as introducing a serif in the middle of a З. It’s just that I had to put something there, and it turned out I needed a double vertical serif — the one this letter doesn’t usually have.
Italics is another story. Dala Floda has very beautiful italics — like everything else, it is broad nib written, but with another kind of plasticity, delicate. Plus it has lots of hand-written forms — what they actually call swashes, right. And we, together with the authors of the Latin set, spent a lot of time considering the options of mating these swashes with this innuendo factor, this forming factor rooted in omission, reticence.
This was a bright project: there’s nothing like it, as it required some tricky solutions. In Cyrillic, I wanted to reach the same level of beauty and plasticity as there is in the original typeface.