Based in Moscow, CSTM Fonts is an independent digital type design and development foundry that was established by Ilya Ruderman and Yury Ostromentsky in early 2014. “If the task is set in an uninteresting way, I either turn it down or try to push the boundaries,” Ilya said in an interview with Type Journal. “I want to be allowed to find something new even where it seems that everything has already been done.”
Educated as graphic designers, Ilya and Yury spent decades practicing both graphic and type design. Over the years, the two began creating typefaces in tandem, “effectively working as four hands together,” as Ilya says, which allowed the duo to work quickly and consistently produce high-quality designs. “Actually, it all started with a project on which we agreed the basic parameters, and then drew various faces independently,” he says. “Yuri, for example, designed one style, and I did another one to go with it. Nevertheless, everything worked together, although the typefaces were fundamentally different. This led to us making our mutual dream come true—at the end of last year we created our own type workshop, which is called CSTM Fonts, and now we finally spend our time in the same space and work on the same projects.”
“Cryllic is worthy of its own evolutionary path,” Ilya says. “For this, the market needs a couple of dozen original type personalities who have done a lot of experimenting and are able to develop a type culture.” Establishing themselves as such designers, Ilya and Yury have worked over the years to create several custom typefaces and help produce Cyrillic versions for a few well-known typefaces. Some of these projects received awards at the Modern Cyrillic competition in 2009 and 2014.
CSTM’s first original typeface, Kazimir, was inspired by Russian Typography of the late 1800-early 1900’s and P.N. Polevoy’s book, “History of Russian Literature.” The family has two character sets: Regular and Irregular. “The first behaves predictably in the eye of the current reader, while we put all those oddities, sometimes exaggerated, that we found in the typography of that era into the second.”
The pair’s most recent release, Pilar, a contemporary reimagining of European art nouveau typography, is a geometric sans serif that was created specifically for display use.
“We haven’t decided what our library will look like yet. We’ve agreed to prepare a collection of unfinished works for release as part of this project. For example, I want to finalize and release BigCity Grotesque. We’re going to offer some fresh things that are being actively developed right now, as well as some designs from the archives that couldn’t be distributed before for one reason or another.”