KTF Jermilov is a modular display font following the typographical practice of Kharkiv avant-garde artist and designer Vasyl Jermilov. As a representative of its era, it shares constructivist ideals of “the struggle against superfluity”, striving for universality and convenience. The font consists of two utilitarian principles: a) uppercase letters composed of limited geometric elements based on a 3x5 square grid, b) lowercase signature letter “a”. The authors' estate has been thoroughly analyzed and translated in font of two cuts (solid and stencil) with ten interchangeable stylistic sets enhancing the initial idea of a “font-constructor” and generating countless variations.
This typographic style started in the 1920s as a modernist attempt of creating a universal typeface that could be easily reproduced and used by everyone with no previous experience*. It was also a follow-up of an elementary idea of a “square as a key module of art” (Malevich's suprematist manifesto) with its heralds El Lissitsky, Herbert Beyer, Joost Schmidt, and Jan Tschichold to name a few. Jermilov's letters aligned with this agenda and were used by the author throughout all his life in various printed matter and three-dimensional forms. This font's passionate revolutionary nature is in paradox. Gradually the idea of simplicity started associating with the scarcity of forms. An idea of a “square as a beginning of art” became the realm of a Square as an End of art. When other forms of constructivist art were emasculated, hidden, placed in galleries, or even destroyed, this font style remained popular in use till the end of the USSR and still exists today on entrance signs, navigation, bus stops, painted letterings, defining post-Soviet DNA.
KTF Jermilov was developed by Oleś Gergun and Yevgen Anfalov. 3D modelling: Martin Litvinenko
*This DIY method was published around that time in some typography-related publications. It mostly implied drawing a grid, mapping the letters following the specific model, cutting them out, and assembling them rhythmically.