Bulgaria Moderna Font

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Bulgaria Moderna Font by Yanko Tsvetkov is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Some rights reserved. Please read the license before use.

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Download Bulgaria Moderna Pro

Characters

Bulgaria Moderna is an OpenType digital font inspired by the Early Cyrillic script developed during the 10th Century in the Preslav Literary School. In addition to all modern Cyrillic characters, the project covers the entire set of modern Latin and Greek alphabets with many additional special characters and a complete set of diacritics.

The Story

The origins of most alphabets are often shrouded in mystery, it’s almost impossible to know for sure how, by whom and when it was introduced. The Cyrillic alphabet is no exception. It carries the name of Saint Cyril, a Byzantine missionary send to Moravia by the Empreror with the task to consolidate Byzantine influence against the German clergy. His most frightening weapon was an alphabet, especially customized for the Slavic language – the Glagolitic, which he created himself. Even though The Cyrillic alphabet is named after Cyril, most scolars agree this is a sign of homage instead of acknowledgement of an authorship. The alphabet itself originated in the First Bulgarian Empire, which welcomed Cyril’s students after his mission to Moravia failed. From Bulgaria, the alphabet spread to Serbia and later to other Slavic states such as Kievan Rus, the predecessor of the Russian Empire. During the ages, the alphabet got simplified and reformed several times and Russia’s influence spread it as far as Mongolia.

Reinventing The Early Cyrillic Aesthetic

Bulgaria Moderna was one of my first typographic projects, born out of curiosity but also necessity. In the winter of 2010 I was working on a Bulgarian ethnographic design project and I needed a suitable font. I wasn’t satisfied with what I found on the market, so I started dreaming of making one on my own. Few months later, in July, during one of the hottest London summers ever, I felt I was brave enough to dive in the cold murky waters of typography. The real cause was probably heat-induced insanity but whatever pushed me, I think it worked. Now Bulgaria Moderna is in its third version and not only supports all Slavic Cyrillic-based alphabets, it also includes all Latin and Greek characters. As usual, any feedback, positive or negative, is highly appreciated.

49 comments on “Bulgaria Moderna Font

  • In Ukrainian, “Е” and “Є” look the same, so nobody would use this font for Ukrainian. You could use such features of OpenType as ‘stylistic sets’ and ‘localized forms’ to tackle this. Also would be great to have ligatures for Ukrainian combination “її”, “ії” and “`ї” (apostrophe + ї).

    • I agree! It is a great looking font, but flawed simply because they haven’t kept to the graphic specs of Cyrillic characters. Шкода! It is something one can find in any Unicode font set. The capital “E” (distinct from “Є”) can easily be made by inverting the number “3”. The lower case “e”, which is distinct from “є” can be designed either by modifying a “c” or by reducing the inverted number “3” to lower case size. That character would actually be better suited for the Latin “E”, “e” (as well as for combined Latin characters containing “e”) than the “є” currently being used.

      I hope that the font designers make the necessary modifications to this otherwise beautiful font!

      • Hi Andrew! The problem with the Є is that it is specific for Ukrainian, not for the Old Cyrillic I used as a reference. The old serif version of the contemporary Cyrillic E looks pretty much like the modern Ukrainian Є, so from a conceptual point of view, it’s a dead end. Thanks for the suggestion about using an inverted 3. I will try to find a solution to this in the next update.

        • Actually, both the lower case “є” and “e” (which looks like a small inverted “3”, but with the “teeth” slanted slightly upwards) are found in numerous Church Slavonic texts. A good selection of examples can be found on the Irmologion website:

          http://irmologion.ru/fonts.html#atop

          Although the “E” does not occur in upper case in Church Slavonic, it makes sense to design one, as your font is designed to for use in modern Cyrillic languages.

          I appreciate your response to my email. Once you have a redesigned BulgariaModerna, if you send it to me via email, I’d be happy to give you my feedback before you go public with it.

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