ParaType was established as a font department of ParaGraph International in 1989 in Moscow, Russia. At that time in the Soviet Union all typeface development was concentrated in one rather small group which belonged to a state research institute, Polygraphmash. It had the most complete and in fact the only one collection of Cyrillic typefaces. The collection included revivals of Cyrillic typefaces developed by Berthold and Lehmann type foundries established at the end of 19th century in St. Petersburg and artworks of Vadim Lazurski, Galina Bannikova, Nikolay Kudryashov and other masters of type and graphic design of Soviet time.
ParaType became the first privately-owned type foundry in many years. A license agreement with Polygraphmash allows ParaType to manufacture and distribute their typefaces. Most of Polygraphmash staff designers soon moved to ParaType.
In the beginning of 1998 ParaType was separated from the parent company and established two companies: ParaType Inc. in California and ParaType, Ltd. in Russia that inherited typefaces and font software from ParaGraph. Both companies are directed by Emil Yakupov, former head of the font department of ParaGraph.
ParaType apply a multilingual approach to type design. Most of the fonts of the last years were developed from the very beginning for wide varieties of alphabets. ParaType’s standard character set covers Western & Central European, and Cyrillic languages. The ParaType collection also contains Arabic, Armenian, Georgian and Greek fonts.
The main directions of ParaType design are: i) new original typefaces for the Russian design and publishing community; ii) revivals of historical Russian typefaces; iii) Cyrillic extensions of the best of Latin typefaces.
ParaType pays particular attention to screen quality of its fonts. Most ParaType fonts are hinted manually and many of them are even delta hinted.
In addition to fonts, ParaType develops software utilities for multilingual typing. The ParaWin series of products extends the language support of Windows and make it possible to work with multilingual documents.