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The Azbuka™ typeface family has its roots in a fairly pedestrian source. “The idea came in part from an old sign in London that read ‘SPRINKLER STOP VALVE’,” says Dave Farey, designer of the typeface. Like all good sign spotters, Farey took a photograph of the sign and filed it away for possible use in a lettering or typeface design project. In Prague a number of years later, the street signs reminded Farey of the London signage - and his camera came out again. Comparing the two back in his studio, he realized that the signs from London and Prague were not as similar as he initially thought. However, they were enough alike to serve as the foundation for a no-frills, 21st century sans serif typeface family.
“I wanted to draw a wide range of weights, italic and condensed designs all in one go,” recalls Farey, “rather than add on to the family later.” His goal was to create a family that could be used for text and display copy, with sufficient weights to provide a broad typographic palette. Indeed, the completed design, created in collaboration with fellow type designer Richard Dawson, consists of twenty typefaces in eight weights ranging from extra light to extra black. The five mid-range designs have complementary italics. Seven condensed designs round out the family.
Azbuka’s lighter weights perform remarkably well in blocks of text composition. “They’re clean and legible - and perhaps a little boring,” says Farey, “but they are perfect for copy with a down-to-earth, yet contemporary flavor.” The heavier weights are equally well suited for a variety of display uses. The designs are authoritative but not overbearing and will readily make a strong statement without calling attention to themselves. The condensed weights of Azbuka are ideal for those instances where you have a lot to say - and not much room to say it.
The name Azbuka? It’s Russian for “alphabet.” And what more appropriate name could there be for this utilitarian, industrial-strength type family than alphabet?
The Azbuka family is available as a suite of OpenType Pro fonts. Graphic communicators can now work with this versatile design while taking advantage of OpenType’s capabilities. The Azbuka Pro fonts also offer an extended character set that supports most Central European and many Eastern European languages
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