Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019

“Plovdiv Typeface" – psychological profile of a city, transformed into font

On the Day of Slavonic Alphabet and Bulgarian Culture – May 24, a campaign dedicated to the Cyrillic alphabet and its special place in world culture and in the program of Plovdiv – European Capital of Culture 2019, was launched. The idea was to encourage handwriting even in times of nearly full digitalization. The project called “Plovdiv Typeface” included nearly 4,000 Plovdiv citizens and two design studios that processed and analyzed the specific handwriting of the city and turned it into a unique font that would remain part of Plovdiv's heritage as European Capital of Culture 2019

“The idea for this project was born before the start of the program of Plovdiv European Capital of Culture. We wanted to get inspired by the city and somehow create a font that represents Plovdiv,” graphic designer Pavel Pavlov says. “After trying various options like being inspired by the architecture and history, we decided that it was best to consult Plovdiv citizens, because they are very diverse and positive people and carry the spirit of the city inside them. So, we decided to collect people’s handwriting styles and on the basis of them to make an analysis and a psychological profile of the city, which we later transformed into a font.”

The people of Plovdiv wrote by hand a pangram - a sentence containing all the letters of the Bulgarian alphabet, as well as the numbers from 0 to 9 and the sentence "I LOVE PLOVDIV. I WRITE BY HAND,” written in capital letters only. The methodology used to analyze collected handwriting styles is one of a kind:

“We didn't find something like this ever done before and we developed the methodology ourselves,” Pavel Pavlov says. “For each letter we highlighted an average of 2 to 8 different ways of writing it. We then began to analyze each handwriting sample, taking into account all the basic characteristics of handwriting styles and managed to obtain very specific results.”

Which traits turned out to be most characteristic of Plovdiv's handwriting?

“The main thing we can say is characteristic of Plovdiv citizens in general is their warm feelings,” Pavel Pavlov says. “About 63% of people here write using mostly soft shapes, which speaks of warmth and openness to the world. It is interesting that young people’s handwriting is characterized by upright letters, while elderly people’s handwriting is more slanted. In addition, young people write more softly, which also indicates that they are more open to the world, while older people are more rigorous. These are very interesting results for our city.”

After many months of intense work, Plovdiv's new font is already a fact. It is available online in 7 different designs versions.

“The font has been created for use by the people of Plovdiv. We hope that they would recognize it as theirs and enjoy the idea, so that we start seeing it more and more often in the city. It can be used by absolutely everyone for free for presentations, city signs, business cards, branding, for everything. We expect the imagination of Plovdiv citizens to lead us in various directions.” Pavel Pavlov says in conclusion.

English: Alexander Markov


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