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33 Ukrainian Typefaces for AbetkaUA
I want to tell you about a fantastic project called the Typeface Alphabet of Ukrainian Identity. It’s an awesome website, designed by Obys Agency and a lot of different artifacts, exhibitions, and events that tell the story about Ukraine with the help of fonts. The project was prepared in collaboration between Projector Creative & Tech Foundation, MacPaw and ЗМІN Foundation.
I am very happy to be a part of this project, both as the author of Mars Type font, which represents the page about The Ukrainian Constitution of Pylyp Orlyk, and as Rentafont — the font provider. I also took part in a panel discussion at the project's presentation in Kyiv, where we talked about contemporary Ukrainian fonts together with Oleksandr Tregub, Oleksandra Korchevska-Tsekhosh, and Zakhar Kryvoshyia.
The creators of this project are doing what I consider to be the most important thing for Ukrainian type design. I, like them, always emphasize that fonts are not some hobby of strange people, but an interesting and important profession that is a key part of design. It’s hard to imagine anything more important than design, because it is communication, the very essence of human existence. It is important to show that fonts are associated with a wide variety of areas of interest.
In addition, for the development of Ukrainian type design, it is necessary to show that fonts should not be exclusively free. Of the 33 letters used in the project, 22 are paid. This shows Ukrainian and foreign users that it is possible to buy licensed fonts in Ukraine for printing, websites, and other use, and that it is simple and affordable. 20 fonts were purchased on Rentafont.
And now, the most interesting part! Each letter’s page contains a text about an important Ukrainian event, symbol, person, as well as a type designer’s story about their font. The authors’ application form contained questions about how long it took to create the font. Not every author gave exact figures, but the data can be used to draw conclusions. No one had collected such data before, so I read it all and compiled statistics.
Statistics on 33 fonts by Ukrainian type designers
• The site features fonts by 24 Ukrainian authors
• 19 of these 24 authors are men, 5 are women
• 2/3 of the typefaces are font families with several font styles
• The shortest development time for 1 typeface is 1 month
• The longest development time for 1 typeface is 2.5 years
• The average development time for 1 typeface is 7.5 months
• The median development time for 1 typeface is 4 months
• All 33 typeface took 20.7 years of work (full-time job of 1 person)
That is, every time you download a free Ukrainian font, you get a gift that took hundreds hours of work. And the ability to create fonts was acquired by each author through decades of education, self-education, and work in various design areas. This work deserves gratitude.
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