Cyrillic and Greek extension of Skolar Sans for RFE/RL

Skolar Sans, with its 72 styles and over 160 languages supported, is one of Rosetta’s flagship type families. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty commissioned us to extend Skolar Sans with the goal of delivering their content through a number of different languages on all of their newly redesigned websites. As RFE/RL broadcasts to many of the countries of the former Soviet Union, the extension included Slavic languages (e.g., Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian) as well as many Asian languages (e.g., Tajik and Uzbek) that use Cyrillic script. Greek script is also supported. The project is one of only a handful to support this many languages on the same CMS platform.

Brought to life by RFE/RL Design Director Kim Conger and Senior Designer Karel Knop, the platform, Pangea, supports RFE/RL websites as well as those for Voice of America, Middle East Broadcasting and Cuban Broadcasting. Altogether, 95 responsive sites are accessed by an average 1.3 million users from 200 countries and territories every day.

Caring about user experience means caring about website performance as well. With RFE/RL’s mission to broadcast to millions of users in many countries with slow or censored internet, this is especially the case. But keeping site loading speeds high and file sizes small imposes a strict limit on fonts. Rosetta’s designers were faced with a double challenge: supporting a large number of languages in three different scripts, but keeping the size of the resulting fonts small despite their comprehensiveness. In the end, Rosetta’s solution was to drastically reduce font file sizes from around 268KB each to a set of 33–40KB subsetted webfonts – the result of a tight collaboration between designers and engineers, and repeated testing.

Related retail families:

Client: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Year: 2016

Additional language support:

Abaza, Adyghe, Avaric/Avar, Bashkir, Belarusian, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Buriat, Chechen, Chuvash, Dargwa, Dungan, Erzya, Greek, Ingush, Kabardian, Kalmyk, Kara-Kalpak, Kazakh, Kirghiz, Komi, Komi-Permyak, Kumyk, Lezghian, Macedonian, Moksha, Mongolian, Nanai, Nogai, Ossetian, Russian, Rusyn, Serbian/Montenegrin, Tabassaran, Tajik, Tatar, Turkmen, Tuvinian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, …


Art-direction and design: David Březina

David Březina is the managing director at Rosetta. While you may know him as the designer of the award-winning type family Skolar, he has also worked on custom typefaces for Adobe, Linotype (Monotype), Microsoft, Google, and others. So far, he has designed typefaces for Cyrillic, Greek, Gujarati, Devanagari, and various extensions of Latin. David holds a Master’s degree in computer science from Masaryk University in Brno (Czechia) and an MA in Typeface Design and PhD from the University of Reading (UK). His cross-disciplinary PhD thesis studied visual similarity and coherence of characters in typefaces for continuous reading in Latin, Cyrillic, and Devanagari scripts.

He has also been actively involved in writing, presenting, and conducting workshops on type and typography around the world.

Design: Sláva Jevčinová

Sláva Jevčinová is a type and graphic designer from Slovakia. She holds an MA in type design from the Type and Media programme at The Royal Academy of Art in The Hague as well as an MA in graphic design from J. E. Purkyně University in Czech Republic. After an internship at Mota Italic in Berlin she specialised in TrueType hinting at Fontwerk. She has been working independently since 2013 and regularly collaborates with Rosetta as hinting specialist and type designer.


Cyrillic consultancy : Maxim Zhukov
Greek consultancy : Irene Vlachou