PlovdivTypeface is a family of 7 free fonts dedicated to the city of Plovdiv. It is based on the handwriting of its citizens and friends, and is free to download. The project is a collaboration between Studio Punkt and the Bulgarian type design studio Typedepot and is a part of the official programme of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019. The entire creation process was inspired by the specific character of the city – warm, multicultural and multidimensional, yet tolerant and unified.
Photo credits: Angel Shterev
Plovdiv Script was developed after analysing more than 3,800 handwriting samples collected from people who live in Plovdiv. The font is diverse, warm and cheerful just like all of them. Plovdiv Display keeps its handwritten origin, but is more elegant and well-proportioned, while its graphics are bold and balanced. It comes in three weights – Light, Regular and Bold. Plovdiv Sans is the most utilitarian member of the Plovdiv type family aiming to find broader application, but still maintain its close connection with the other members of the family.
We started the project by a handwriting collecting campaign. For a week we collected more than 3800 blanks like the one above, filled in by random people met on the street in Plovdiv. Everyone had to write the same pangram in Bulgarian using their own handwriting. We also collected the sentence "I love Plovdiv, I write by hand" written in All Caps, the numbers 0 - 9 and some gender and age information.
Every letter has different forms – cursive, roman, handwritten etc. Especially in Cyrillic some characters can be written in up to 10 different ways. We started by analysing the different letterforms of every character and after that we counted how often each of them can be found among the thousands of collected handwritings. We imported all the data into an Excel Table, which eventually gave us the statistics about how people write every single letter. This data gave us the basics for the development of Plovdiv Script and later, the other fonts of the family.
We’ve added two extra fonts to make the family even more interesting and enjoyable! Plovdiv Pictograms is based on Plovdiv Script, but it also includes over 60 pictograms that were part of the visual identity of the special programme of Plovdiv as European Capital of Culture 2019. these are included in the font as ligatures.
More of a funny experiment, than a functional font, Plovdiv MainaMode (working only in cyrillic) translates any text or phrase set in it to a slang typical for Plovdiv by exchanging some words with their synonyme popular in the region. It also adds the word “maina” at the end of every sentence, where it’s usually placed by locals.
We have started the project on May 24th – the National Day of Slavic Alphabet and Culture and uploaded the typeface for free download on November 1st – the National Revival Day. The typeface has got really popular in the town since then and is now used in various ways. It has been dowloaded more than 3000 times so far. We are very curious about its future life, even outside Plovdiv – so if you decide to use it, we'd be happy to see your designs! You can find download links below! We also organised a travelling exhibition to present the project among citizens and tourists in Plovdiv. It started its journey from one of the central squares in the town – near the Dzhumaya mosque. It has been in a mall and in the Plovdiv Library and is continuing its journey around the town.