Back Story: Graphic designer Katerina Korolevtseva designed Misto as a capstone project during her studies at the Projector School in Kiev, Ukraine. The typeface is an homage to her hometown of Slavutych, the newest city in Ukraine, built as a haven for the evacuated personnel of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant disaster in 1986.
Slavutych was designed as a contemporary utopia, filled with low scale, five-story houses, unique postmodernist architecture, and tall pine trees. It’s quiet and green, and boasts amenities such as a youth center, numerous sports facilities, and a hotel. Its citizens have a uniquely high birth rate as well as surprisingly low mortality numbers. “I wanted people to know about Slavutych and to make my small contribution to the development of Cyrillic fonts,” says Korolevtseva.
Why’s it called Misto? “Misto” means “city” in Ukrainian.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Misto is an inspired take on reverse contrast fonts, which are having a bit of a revival at the moment. Its squat, expansive letterforms draw inspiration from the shapes of the low, wide buildings in Slavutych, which incorporate architectural styles from eight regions of the former Soviet Union.
There’s also something youthful and exuberant about both the Latin and Cyrillic characters’ playful rhythm of diacritical marks and occasional ball terminals contrasted with low oblong counters and decisive thick-and-thin strokes. Korolevtseva says she designed the font to reflect the young character of her native town, where the average age is by far the lowest of any city in Ukraine: more than one-third of its inhabitants are under the age of 18.
Also of note is the harmony between the letterforms of the two languages—not an easy task, yet beautifully executed. The designer pulled off a hat trick with Misto, especially given that she spent only a month and a half on its development.
What should I use it for? As a display font, Misto will conquer headlines, logo design, brand identities, websites, packaging, and posters.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? This font shines when paired with contemporary grotesques. “I like especially like how how it looks with Agrandir by Alex Slobzheninov,” says Korolevtseva. Or try Founders Grotesque from New Zealand’s Klim Type Foundry.