Ilya Ruderman: The story of this project started from Yura’s typeface CSTM Xprmntl 01 that MTS fell in love with (with the assistance of BBDO Group). They began using it to promote their mobile network tariffs for young people, and that experience was really successful.
Yury Ostromentsky: That typeface was experimental, it would not work for just any brand. And we were glad that such a big company opted for such a bold graphic solution for their communication purposes.
IR: At that very moment, MTS was preparing its rebranding — with a new logo, new advertising campaign, and new graphics. They even had a draft with another typeface, a license on which they were going to buy. But as it turned out, that other typeface was good only for one half of their tasks. On the one hand, they have applications, websites, lots of small size, where readability is what matters most, while on the other — billboards, banners, gigantic words that should draw attention. So, they came to us with an offer to design such a typeface. Plus, it was more profitable: on the scale MTS works on, the price of licensing the already existing typeface would be comparable with the cost of designing a new one.
IR: We brought together a task force which included the digital director of MTS Alexey Chupin and the art director with BBDO Group, Alexander Zagorsky. After a few iterations, we came up with five styles: three for utility tasks — websites, apps, — and two bold styles, for ads or simply large texts. MTS was very specific about the amount of styles: for a federal company, where each region has its own designers, it is highly important to clearly control the use of typeface — which is why the simpler the system is, the better.
YuO: What we did here could be described as a fully open closed-aperture sans serif. On the one hand, the forms of round symbols are structured as closed — that makes the brand’s typography modern. On the other hand, — they are made as open as possible, since open sans serifs are a better fit for interfaces. With them, letters stick together less at smaller sizes.
IR: The customer didn’t need exclusive rights on the typeface. This enabled us to (approximately a year later) add more styles and release the Normalidad type family to the market. Today, anyone can license it on type.today.