Daria Petrova

Hello Daria! Please introduce yourself.

I was born in Moscow but have lived in Berlin since 2012, with a one year break spent in the Type and Media M.A. program in The Hague. Since graduating in 2016, I work at LucasFonts during the day and spend my evenings creating weird typefaces and researching all things macabre.

How, when and why did you start working in the type design field?

t’s been a long way. Already in Moscow, where I studied book design, I was always fascinated by type design and especially by the people involved in it. It was Alexander Tarbeev and his workshop that gave me the first insights, even though I was absolutely unable to work in type design back then. I moved to Berlin hoping to learn something new, like web design and UI, but again, it was the people in type design who attracted me more than anything else. Finally I ended up at Lucas de Groot’s course at the Fachhochschule Potsdam. Lucas is an amazing teacher — very motivating, and he was kind enough to offer me an internship at his studio, where I finally realized that type design is the thing I want to spent my life doing.

What did your first selfmade typeface look like?

It was an “oh-I-have-a-very-unusual-idea-to-make-a-font-with-inverted-contrast” trap. Believe me, it was quite an ugly one.

How and why did you approach designing your typeface Zangezi?

Zangezi was my second typeface. I quickly digitized one weirdo called Salem I found in an old specimen at my beloved www.archive.org and abandoned it. A few years later I encountered it again and got very interested in exploring its quirky existence. I think the original typeface totally deserves not to be forgotten, but it also inspired me to come up with some completely new designs, like italic and sans.

Typography/Type Design is a pretty male dominated topic. How do you experience that?

Personally I’m lucky not to experience it myself, since it is no longer such an issue in Europe or North America. But I hope that one day this will change in my homeland, too, where gender roles are still quite traditional.

Which song would you like to translate into a typeface? What would that look like?

I often connect music and curves, because I think they share the same level of abstractness. This is very subjective, but I know exactly what Zangezi sounds like — the nervous and penetrating harpsichord of “Le Vertigo” by Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer — just imagine, it’s 1746!
I would like to reflect more on French Baroque music, by composers like Jean-Baptiste Lully or Jean-Philippe Rameau. I think they are more witty, exalted, and nervous than a Baroque Antiqua, for example. Another goal of mine is to create a very pathetically and sentimental Russian typeface, like the quintessence of Russian classical music (to name a few examples: Tchaikovsky’s “Violin Concerto in D Major”; Borodin’s “In the Steppes of Central Asia”; Shostakovich’s “Waltz No. 2” … I think I have to stop).

How do you feel about the ongoing type design trend and the democratization of type design?

I see the democratization very enthusiastically and hope that this tendency will de-marginalize crazy display fonts. And my biggest hope for achieving this is FutureFonts. Let’s have a modern take on Victorian typography!

What’s you favorite typeface at the moment?

In the last four years I have barely gotten to use fonts. The last one that I happened to use was Operator by Andy Clymer, and I loved it. I sometimes buy typefaces I adore, but can’t find a purpose for them, besides sheer admiration, like WF Regular and WF Sans by Yuri Gordon.

What’s more important to you, the perfect shape or what the typeface feels like?

I leave all the perfect shapes at work. In the afterwork hours I am looking for slightly rough curves and overall feeling. My biggest struggle is to find a balance — how not to over-rationalize shapes, but also not to make them feel just sloppy.

For more work of Daria check out her Instagram or buy her Typeface Zangezi at Futurefonts !

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