KTF05: Cirk

KTF Cirk is a free interpretation drawn after anonymous lettering found in an art exhibition catalog Світ і Молодь (World and Youth), most likely from 1985. Based on what was at hand, a private font was made to be used in the LP cover design for Alex Chumak (our friend and co-author of KTF Olivier) band Sojuz. A simple geometric idea of crossing circles and lines and a free choice of Cyrillic letterforms (mixing upper and lowercase) for a unicase solution was an instant pleasure to work on. After its first successful use, we decided to expand it into a full release. At the end of its production, with all the drawings set, we stumbled upon its source called “Cirkulus”. It was made by Austrian designer Michael Neugebauer in 1970 for Letraset (LG118, 72pt 15.2 mm), and was used for Aretha Franklin’s 7-inch single on Atlantic Records. A Letraset catalog reveals a few similar fonts being in fashion between 1969–71: Horatio (Harry) Light, Fino, Premier Lightline, Linear, and a classic Avant Garde Gothic, a genre-defining face for layouts competing in using the thinnest possible lines. By closer examination of the mentioned cover, we spotted figures that didn’t match the original Neugebauer’s design. Most likely, a designer was searching for a more suitable substitution: Premier Lightline by Colin Brignall (1970).* When drawing our numbers, we relied on another finding — right in time! — a 1989 calendar with Maria Prymachenko paintings using a curious Cyrillic version of before mentioned Premier Lightline. You can call it a remix. The font was expanded, kerned, and engineered by our new member Vadym Axeev. An animated illustration is based on Saul Steinerg’s drawing dated 1949. Motion by Oleksandr Stelmakh.

*According to Fonts In Use, Premier Lightline “(...) was the first face issued in Letraset’s Letragraphica range”. Letragraphica was a series of display headline fonts released every 3-4 months.