The building of the Northern Bank of St. Petersburg’s Baku branch was built in 1903-1905. It was the first Art Nouveau-style building in Baku, Azerbaijan. Later the bank was transformed into the Russian-Asian Bank.
After the oil boom in Baku in the 19th century, branches of many banks and new banks were opened in the city. The branch of the Northern Bank of St. Petersburg was among the first banks that was opened in Baku. N.Bayev was the architect of the building for the branch of the Northern Bank of St. Petersburg located at Gorchakovskaya 3 in 1903-1905. The building currently houses the Central Branch of the International Bank of Azerbaijan. My purpose in writing this is not to copy and paste the information from Wikipedia. What attracted me to the building was the word “Банкъ” (Bank) written in Cyrillic letters, which was also used in Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. The exact date of the writing is not known.
Every time I pass by this building, I always thought of creating a font of this writing someday. I had taken a photo of the building and saved it on my phone. I did a lot of research on the font and asked a lot of people. However, some did not provide information at all and some said they did not have any information. I was interested in the history of this font but I do not know if this font really existed or it was created by the architect out of nowhere. If there was such a history of this font, I wanted to recreate this font and make it available. If not, I had to create it from scratch in the same way, using only existing letters on the building. Finally, I made up my mind and decided to develop the font with all letters I have got.
It was difficult to create a font based on the word, Банкъ. Because in the appearance of the letters, the midline of the letters on A, H, K was very distinct, both in the form of inclination and in more precise degrees. The serif part of the letters, the height of the upper and lower sides, differed from each other. I don’t know whether it was done this way when the building was constructed or it happened over time.
I prepared and kept the initial version of the font. I took a break for a while. I started digging on the story of the font again. Meanwhile, I was researching and got inspired by similar fonts. Unfortunately, my research on the font’s history did not yield any results.
I decided to continue finishing up the font. After developing the demo, I created the font by keeping certain parts of these differences in the letters. In addition, I had to consider the development of letters in the Cyrillic, as well as the Latin alphabet, over the past period.
Thus, I began to look at the appearance of slab-serif or serif fonts of that time. In general, as I gain more experience in developing fonts, I try to focus on the precision of the design for each font. In recent years, I specifically paid attention to this matter.
YouTube channel and articles by Alexandra K.‘s of ParaType, as well as, information and samples from TypeType and Fontfabric studios on the Cyrillic alphabet were quite useful. I gathered data regarding the Latin alphabet from various credible sources.
I do not know if I could accomplish what I aimed at but I know one thing that I could develop the font. Maybe someday I’ll have to revise this font. For now, I share it with you.
I created the font in 10 styles. 7 weight from Thin to Extra Black, an Outline, Shadow, and Art Nouveau. The Art Nouveau style was inspired by the texture in the background used for the text on the building. The texture I applied to capital letters adds beauty to the font.
If you like the font feel free to use it or simply let me know if your current alphabet doesn’t support this font.