Introduction to Cyrillic Type Design

with Aleksandra Samuļenkova


This course is for anyone interested in Cyrillic type design! Participants need to have a strong background in design principles and DTP applications. Those with previous knowledge of type design will be able to progress more quickly, even though the course will be beneficial for those without advance knowledge of type design. This introductory course is 24 hours of teaching over 4 months, and is taught in English.

About the course
This course provides participants with the practical skills and theoretical foundation necessary to design a Cyrillic typeface from scratch, or as an extension to an existing typeface. The course is designed for anyone who is interested in learning about the Cyrillic script, or for those interested in expanding their general expertise in type design by mastering an additional script.

Course structure
(classes take place at 3pm UK time)

Session 1: June 7 — Introduction: an overview of the Cyrillic script, its brief history, course structure.

  • Writing exercise #1.

Session 2: June 14 — Typographic styles in Cyrillic context.

  • Differences between Roman, Italic, and Handwriting graphemes.
  • Contrast, serifs (or their absence) in Cyrillic.
  • Briefly about the local preferences.
  • More history in-between.
  • Writing exercise #2.
  • Optional writing exercise #3.
  • + Special guest #1: Bulgarian Cyrillic.

Session 3: June 28 — Diving right into it: where to start?

  • Choosing the characters to draw as first.
  • Detailed look at the selected lowercase letters from the Basic character set.
  • Cyrillic as a companion to another script.
  • + Special Guest #2: Serbian Cyrillic.

Session 4: July 5

  • Type review of the mini lowercase character set.
  • Detailed look at the rest of the lowercase letters from the Basic character set.
  • Proofing tactics, resources.
  • + Special Guest #3: Ukrainian Cyrillic.

Session 5: July 12

  • Type review of the Basic lowercase character set.
  • Proofing tactics, resources.

Session 6: July 26

  • Detailed look at the Basic uppercase.

Session 7: August 2

  • Type review of the Basic uppercase.
  • Q&A

Session 8: August 30

  • Type review of the local alternates.
  • Detailed look at the Extended character set.

Session 9: September 6

  • Type review of the Extended character set.
  • Detailed look at the ExtendedPlus character set.

Session 10: September 13

  • Type review of the ExtendedPlus character set.
  • Q&A in concerning the current state of the project.
  • Tying up loose ends.

Session 11: September 27

  • OpenType features, finalising character set.
  • Q&A: (potential) additional styles, specimen design.

Session 12: October 11

  • End presentation final review, discussions

Course materials and projects
The learning process includes:
— Lectures on Cyrillic script in general: (history, current state, development trends).
— Lectures with the hands-on analysis of the Cyrillic letters.
— Guest lecturers showing different faces of Cyrillic.
— Type review sessions.
— Q&A sessions.

Participants are expected to complete several practical exercises and one main project: their own Cyrillic typeface. It is essential for the participants to be able to work between sessions, so that the main project can develop fully.

The course is open to a maximum of 15 participants. This ensures that every student gets ample time for feedback.

How will it work?
The course makes use of the latest software to set up a virtual classroom and resource centre for course materials. Participants will need to join the weekly sessions via a Zoom link that will be provided. A stable internet connection is required, as well as the latest Glyphs software for Mac. Writing exercises require a broad nib and a pointed nib.

Fees and registration
The course fee is £990 (+ 20% VAT if applicable) and is non-refundable. To register, or if you have any questions, please email register

We are happy to offer 3 full scholarships to Ukrainian designers. Please email us for more details.


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