Contrast Foundry

retail & exclusive typefaces

Contrast Foundry

Ornamented initial letter


Initial letter for the first publication of the forthcoming Russian journal about typography. Publication on the subject of Civil Type and Kis Cyrillic that was written by Vladimir Yefimov in 2002. The brief was to design an ornamented initial letter inspired by Dutch traditions of the 18th century.


We started with looking through the historical materials to get an idea of the amount of detalisation and the kinds of ornaments that were in use during that period. All sketches were made with X4 scale compared to the intended usage size which was about 25 X 25 mm maximum. Starting from the very rough sketches and coming to more and more precise drawings the first proposal had been developed.


This first idea did not fit the layout because of its darkness. Even though we really liked the simplicity of those curls, we’ve tried to reduce the thickness of the strokes, but that was not enough. So I redrew the idea keeping the same skeleton of the composition, adding floral details and radically reducing the color saturation.


Compared to the whole project, drawing became the least time consuming part and it was really fun. But then we had some problems with digitizing. It turned out that I could not use any rough automated digitization as it had too many points and the amount of them slowed down all possible applications. So in the end we did all the work manually. Part by part, so that we would not need a lot of corrections at the final stage.

Later on the client also created toute bags with the initial printed on them.