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Cyrillic Typeface competition

Saratoga, CA - 16 June 2009

ParaType announces a competition of Cyrillic typefaces to mark the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great’s reform of the Russian alphabet and putting into practice the civil type.

Between the years 1708–1710, the Russian czar Peter the Great had implement a reform of the Cyrillic script. His goal was to give Russian books a more “modern” appearance that was typical of Western European books of that time, which was radically different from the distinctly medieval appearance of earlier Russian books that were set in semi-uncial (poluustav) typeface. As a result of this reform, the Cyrillic alphabet became closer in form to the Western European alphabet, which undoubtedly made a tremendous influence on the cultural development of all nations that used the Cyrillic script, and of Russia most of all.

In the three centuries since the reform, the Cyrillic alphabet had gone through many good and bad times. Periods of rapid development were followed by periods of stagnation, but the most significant and creative times for the Cyrillic script were, undoubtedly, the last 15-20 years, which have seen an explosion of interest in the Cyrillic alphabet not only in Russia, but in the rest of the world as well. Modern communications, especially the Internet, are increasingly immersing formerly isolated countries in a universal multilingual communicative environment, and the Cyrillic alphabet, being one of the world’s major scripts, is playing its part in the formation of the modern world’s cultures and languages.

ParaType regularly organizes and sponsors contests of Cyrillic typefaces, considering them an important way to create interest in the script. This competition participation rules will be similar in many ways to the rules of competition “Kirillitsa‘99”, which took place ten years ago. That competition featured around 150 works of designers from 8 countries. We hope that this year’s competition will be just as successful and will clearly show the development trends of Cyrillic typeface design, and will also represent an objective picture of the world level of development of the modern Cyrillic script.

The competition judges include well-known Russian designers and font specialists representing leading Russian type foundries and schools of type design. Many of the current judges also judged the competition “Kirillitsa’99” and therefore will be able to objectively evaluate the development of Cyrillic script from both a geographic and historical perspectives.

All typefaces created and published since January 1, 2006 are eligible for this competition. Participation is free of charge. A catalog of winning typefaces will be published and an exhibition held. The submission deadline for this competition is August 24, 2009. For full competition rules, entry forms, and other info, please see Don’t hesitate to send all questions to

ParaType Inc.

article posted 16 June 2009 and last updated 26 August 2009.

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