Whether you are a designer working for Russian clients or if you just want to impress your Russian girlfriend (or boyfriend) with your Photoshop skills, you’ll certainly become bored with the very limited set of Russian fonts that comes with your operating system.
Here’s a collection of some of my favourite free Cyrillic fonts:
Though not as fancy as some of the others, this was a clear choice for the first typeface on the list. Developed for the “Public Types of Russian Federation” governmental project, these fonts give possibility to the peoples of Russia to read and write on their native languages.
The fonts cover a long list of Eurasian languages based on Latin and Cyrillic scripts, but the most important feature is the support for all official and almost all minority languages of the Russian Federation.
This unique typeface, reportedly inspired by the Futurama character of the same name, is one of the winners of the International Type Design Competition “Modern Cyrillic 2009” and looks exquisite at all sizes.
Though it’s not as versatile as some of the other typefaces on this list, Days is still one of my favorites. Sacrificing elaborate gimmicks for simplicity, it manages to be modern, yet timeless; classy, yet daring.
A beautiful decorative display font, stylized as an ancient Russian script. A great choice for when you need a typeface reminiscent of Imperial Russia, yet with a modern punch.
Free fonts tend to be more playful than useful, but there are exceptions, such as this narrow grotesque sans-serif font based on the works of the great Miles Newlyn.
Perforama is a beautiful sans-serif with a hi-tech feel, though the lack of lowercase characters limits its use somewhat.
Call it chubby, call it fluffy, Sumkin is a great free font reminiscent of Children’s books and ice cream packaging.
Somewhere between the Rorschach test and children’s rubber stamps is Bext, and though it’s tough to imagine it in use, there’s no doubt that there is certain beauty to its letterforms.
Rare is a good, free serif font, especially when it comes to support for Cyrillic, which makes me particularly excited about Sreda (‘Wednesday’). Though it only comes in one weight, the extensive glyph coverage more than makes up for that.
Intro is a sharp typeface with strongly expressed geometric makeup and structure based on triangles, circles and squares. There’s also a paid version available with lowercase characters, more weights and advanced OpenType features.
Bonus: Captcha Code
Last but not least, Captcha Code is an intriguing experiment in typography, each character taken from a different font by 100 Russian designers, over 4 years.
I hope that this list contains at least one Russian font that warmed your heart. Please post your tips in the comments, and tell me whether you are interested in reading more Russian typography related articles in the future.