Cyrillic showcase: a look at awesome Slavic design

There’s no doubt about it — the Roman alphabet dominates the world of graphic design (and this blog, for obvious reasons). While this happens to be what the market requires, it does not mean that the Roman alphabet is the most interesting to look at. In fact, it’s starting to feel a little stale around here.

So, in the spirit of diversity we’re going to switch it up and showcase designs in a fresh new script: Cyrillic. Used by over 250 million Slavic speakers, mostly in Eastern Europe and Russia, Cyrillic is kind of like the Roman alphabet’s estranged but beautiful cousin:

The Russian alphabet uses Cyrillic script

In the last twenty years, Cyrillic has cast off the drab blockiness that we associate with the Soviet Union and Slavic design is flourishing. Here are some marvelous examples:

Designs by Andrei Grabelnikov

Designs by Boris Ushmanov

Designs by Aleksei Romashin

Designs by Alex Ricochet

Designs by Gagik Mesropyan

Designs by Glen Jan (left) and Oleg Pospelov (right)

Designs by Ray Design Studio (left) and Nogachev (right)

Design by Dmitriy Design

Three designs by Bulgarian, 20th century graphic design luminary, Stefan Kanchev

The selection of contests on 99designs that ask for a Cyrillic design is fairly small. Nevertheless, we were able to find some truly awesome specimens (and if you come across any more, post them in the comments!):

Design by Cheburashka1

Design by Cici0

Design by Simolio

Have you seen any great Cyrillic designs lately? Share them in the comments!

Alex Bigman is liaison to 99designs' awesome community of graphic designers. He is a recent grad of UC Berkeley, where he studied history of art and cognitive science.
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11 Comments

  1. CreativeHouse

    Unfortunately, however, in countries in which we use the Cyrillic alphabet, customers prefer their logos to be in the Roman alphabet. The reasons are many and varied. The Roman alphabet is understood by everyone in the world and not all nice fonts from Roman alphabet are converted in Cyrillic alphabet. This will be an interesting topic for those who is not familiar with this script. I’ve seen great logos in Cyrillic on the Internet, but unfortunately it was accidental and do not remember where but here are some
    http://behance.vo.llnwd.net/profiles/79079/projects/164977/790791231182338.gif
    http://logopond.com/logos/a3422faf3028024ac6f6d599086065c9.png

    Reply July 4, 2012 at 1:42 pm
  2. WebDesigner

    These are great! Do you know that this alphabet has been created by the Saints Cyril and Methodius, which are Bulgarian and therefore i hope to see some natural, Bulgarian made designs here.

    Reply July 4, 2012 at 1:56 pm
  3. Steve

    Some really inspirational stuff from Slavic designers, cheers for putting together this awesome showcase Alex! I agree that many countries who use the Cyrillic alphabet want their logos in roman text for international understanding however this doesn’t mean they should lose their style and culture. There are quite a few fonts for example, like Samarkan, which look like their native script, in this case Hindi but actually contain Roman glyphs.

    Reply July 5, 2012 at 1:01 am
  4. Geri

    This designs are 100% russian, will we see other slavic designs? Othewise you have to rename the title of the article.

    Reply July 5, 2012 at 7:19 am
  5. Alex Bigman

    @CreativeHouse — Thanks for the contribution! Very nice

    @WebDesigner — I did not know that! Please share some Bulgarian-made designs with us!

    @Steve — or hebrew http://www.identifont.com/show?889

    @Geri — We would love to see designs in other Slavic languages. Please share, and we will update the article!

    Reply July 5, 2012 at 11:08 am
  6. Noreen Donner

    ok, so i don’t understand slavic. but i really like how they did the typographic designs here. they really used those fancy characters pretty well here.

    Reply July 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm
  7. CreativeHouse

    Hello slaves!
    Russians, Bulgarians, Serbs. Macedonians who all use cyrilic alphabet. I am not shure about Poles, Czechs and Slovaks are they use cyrilic alphabet If I missed someone special excuses.
    Kyrillos and Methodios are creators of slavic alphabets. They were born in Solun but they are slaves by origin.
    Here you can see the portfolio of one old talanted designer from Bulgaria. All of his logos are created by hand, When he was created them it had not computers but there are little logos that are written in Cyrillic maybe in a parts of his portfolio where he was created other designs for postage stamps, calendars, to this design should be tolerant of today’s perspective, because there are quite quaint vision, but most of his logos are clasic and seems wonderful today http://stefankanchev.com/

    Reply July 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm
    • Alex Bigman

      Wow, thanks for this awesome share! Kanchev is certainly an amazing Bulgarian designer. I’ve updated the post to include some of his logo work.

      Reply July 6, 2012 at 11:17 am
  8. victor

    Designs by Boris Ushmanov
    Tamara de Lempicka as a Bulgarian designer ?;)
    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/600642.Tamara_de_Lempicka_1898_1980

    Reply July 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm
    • Alexander99

      Tamara de Lempicka was definitely an amazing painter (and I think Polish, no?)

      If she designed anything with Cyrillic lettering, please share it!

      Reply July 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm
      • victor

        Hi Alex,
        Looks like misunderstanding. And yes Lempicka is Polish.
        Boris Ushmanov uses one of her well known painting without even mentioning it.Not a good practice, in my opinion.
        best,
        v

        Reply July 9, 2012 at 3:54 pm

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