Grilli Type uses inspiration from Soviet children’s books for new designed typeface
GT Eesti, a typeface created by Swiss foundry Grilli Type, holds a historic and interesting background of having Soviet Russian origins. Grilli Type explains that:
“Soviet geometric sans serif Zhurnalnaya Roublennaya, first released in 1947 and designed by Anatoly Schulkin.“
The finding and design process behind the typeface was from Reto Moser, who designed GT Eesti, when he was shown a few Estonian children’s books when he was a student. He began the typeface design, simply by digitising the updated Eesti from scanning from the Estonian books. Grilli Type also found a discovery that there were two versions of the typeface: Display, for large sizes and Text, for smaller usage. With this discovery, Moser merged these discoveries for the final typeface.
The designed typeface is very reminiscent to the Futura font family, as GT Eesti utilises large block-like lettering, porportional and heavy appearance, similar to Futura. The new typeface feels modern too, since the sans-serif typeface is classified as a Modern era typeface.
Grilli Type has also expanded on the typeface by accompanying a microsite which explains the story and details of the typeface. This also includes the decisions behind cetain elements of the type and the subfamilies within it. With the findings of the Estonian children’s books, Grilli Type also reflected the historic children illustrations into the microsite too. These neat and brightly coloured illustrations, sit nicely alongside the font, providing a historic feel of the Soviet education towards the modern day. As well as illustrations, the team also added animations, which are smart, compact and communicative.
“The typeface alone is dynamic, clean and sensitively interpreted, but the microsite adds another level to the project, giving it historical relevance and a glimpse into Grilli Type’s design process.“
What I can take from Grilli Type’s GT Eesti designed typeface as inspiration, is the use of utilising historic research into current projects and briefs. Completing varied research results in interesting and developing ideas, that can be original and innovative. Also, another successful element from Grilli Type’s typeface project, is the use of expanding it into a larger context, such as with Grilli Type’s microsite for example. I could use this idea for my own projects and briefs, as it shows a passion for the project, and also serves a purpose of informing and possibly educating the viewer. This expansion could not just be a microsite, as I could creatively produce a accompanying poster, interactive prestentation, or infographic. The creative ideas of expanding a project/brief are endless.