Cyrillization2009 year

Ilya Ruderman: Neutraface is a very well-known typeface by Christian Schwartz who designed it for House Industries. It is based on the works of the modernist architect Richard Neutra, and his son has even taken part in its creation. The typeface is widely used in Latin-script countries: on signs, in cinema, in lots of places. 

Neutraface seems to be borrowed from city streets, it derives from urban typography. And yet while it’s based on modernist stylistics playing the different levels of waistline, proportion and so on, Schwartz’ version is much calmer — that’s a geometric sans serif.

Neutraface is a huge family. It was initially conceived as a display typeface, so it has intentionally long ascenders and descenders. Then it was supplemented by a text version with a different proportion: the lowercase characters got bigger, the ascenders and descenders got smaller, and relationships between symbols have changed. Then its slab serif arrived. And then later all this was discarded, forgotten, and the authors tried to redesign the typeface using different proportions and settings, calling the result Neutraface № 2. There also was an inline version, the bold one, with white lines drawn in the middle. That’s a gigantic project. 

One day House Industries was approached by a very big customer, working around the world, and he commissioned an extended Cyrillic Neutraface. That was an incredibly long-term and meticulous work: about 160 master files, italics… It was about the same size as Helvetica, in terms of volumes. It took me several years. 

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