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The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya

Contributed by Florian Hardwig on Nov 4th, 2014. Artwork published in
December 2014
The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya 1
Source: License: All Rights Reserved.

As soon as the topic is somehow related to the Soviet Union or communism, many Western designers show a knee-jerk reaction and reach for blocky angular caps, as they often were used on avant-garde posters from the era of the Russian Revolution and the interbellum. Ludmila Ulitskaya’s novel is not set in the 1920s, but some 30 years later. By then, Russian Constructivism was long replaced by Socialist realism, and its protagonists retired, sidelined or, like Aleksei Gan, killed.

So strictly speaking, this cover design uses the cliche, too. But it does so in a beautiful way, and as the truly awful sins — like abusing a Cyrillic ‘Я’ for an ‘R’, or a ‘Д’ for an ‘A’ — were avoided, I don’t care that the period is off.

The font in use here is either Stenberg or Rodchenko. All letterforms are made from straight lines only. Interestingly, a few corners have been rounded in this use. Tagir Safayev designed the initial weight of Rodchenko in 1996. In 1997, it was licensed to ITC and published as Stenberg, including an Inline style. The less tightly spaced Rodchenko (ParaType, 1996–2002) adds two lighter weights as well as condensed styles. Both fonts are named after outstanding Constructivist designers: the Stenberg brothers and Aleksander Rodchenko.

via Casual Optimist’s Book Covers of Note November 2014

The Big Green Tent by Ludmila Ulitskaya 2
Source: (background cropped) Devin Washburn. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • ITC Stenberg




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