Kate Vasey Article By Kate

The Designer Behind The Typeface: Ksenia Belobrova


Ksenia’s main passion in life is typography and type design. Originally from a small seaside town, where she was involved professionally in yacht sport, played violin and studied painting, Ksenia now resides in Moscow after previously studying Typography and Type Design at Moscow University of Printing Arts. She currently works as a freelance type designer and lettering artist where she specialises in calligraphy and lettering in all styles. I spoke with Ksenia to find out more.

I know you love calligraphy and lettering Ksenia, how did you first become interested in this style of type design?

That happened when I was studying at the Moscow State University of Printing Arts (Alexander Tarbeev’s class). I can remember when I first tried to write something with Roman Capitals. That was so hard and awful, but I fell in love.

Does living in Moscow have an influence on the typefaces you create?

It does, I guess. Maybe that’s the reason why I don’t have (and don’t prefer) any particular calligraphy or font design style. The history of Cyrillic is quite difficult and even dramatic, so we don’t have strong connection with our past calligraphy and typography traditions, as Latin people do. That’s the reason why now we are pretty influenced by a lot of other traditions, European and American. Sometimes I feel really sad about it but in general I’m happy with this diversity of styles and typography freedom :)

You have an incredible library of calligraphy and lettering typefaces, what is your favourite one?

Thank you! I’m afraid I don’t have a favourite one… Also I’m an unbearable perfectionist, so I’m always not too happy with my works. But I love Di Mare because it’s my first own big project.

Di Mare type family by Ksenia Belobrova (Source)

Do you feel you have more freedom when designing a script typeface? Or do you find any restrictions when creating them?

Difficult to say. There are a lot of technical restrictions when you work on script typefaces, so I can’t just create them as I want. That makes me sad sometimes. But on the other hand that’s interesting to solve all these problems, I really love that. So I don’t feel I have a lot of freedom, but I’m quite happy with the restrictions.

What was the inspiration behind your latest type family Eldwin?

There wasn’t any particular reference, but I was mostly inspired by Italian and American sign painting.

Eldwin Type Family available at The Northern Block

How does designing typefaces play a role in your everyday life?

Oh, I’m a crazy nerd. I notice fonts everywhere and when I see some mistakes (kerning or something) it irritates me. But I’m trying not to be too annoying with my friends talking about it every time. Anyway, they understand :)

When you are not practising lettering, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love music and painting. Maybe more than anything in the world (after type design, of course). So in my spare time I play guitar and recorder, sign and draw.

And finally, how have you found the communication with The Northern Block team when working together on Eldwin? Do you think it would have been beneficial to have met the team face to face?

Oh, that was amazing. There weren’t any problems working from different countries. But I’d love to meet you all!

A big thank you to Ksenia for taking part in this interview. Thank you for reading. Want to see the typeface designed by Ksenia? Make sure to check out Eldwin type family.

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