Olivera Stojadinovic was studying mechanical engineering at a technical college when she realized that her true passion was for the arts, not engineering. She made the difficult decision to forgo her engineering degree and, instead, enrolled at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. Here, Stojadinovic studied lettering, printmaking, and especially calligraphy, endeavors that proved much more in keeping with her sensibilities. She graduated with honors in 1985.
Shortly after graduation, Stojadinovic took part in a project to reconstruct 19th century Cyrillic book typefaces. This work included researching antique books at the National Library of Serbia, taking careful photographs of the printed pages and reproducing the historic typefaces. Later she joined the Center for Art and Scientific Research at the University of Arts in Belgrade. Here, her earlier interest in things technical complemented her artistic skills as she learned to use the computer as a typeface design tool. While at the Center, she was part of a team that researched the origins of the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet and developed new Cyrillic typefaces.
At the same time, Stojadinovic began working with a small publishing house to create a special series of books under the “Masterpieces” brand. Part of the design brief was to draw a new set of initial letters for each book. Once Stojadinovic had drawn the majority of the capital letters, she realized that a companion lowercase would make a distinctive script typeface. “I made my first sketches with a special pointed brush which was difficult to manipulate well, but once tamed, gave me interesting results,” she recalls. Stojadinovic worked to reproduce the unique brush quality in digital form. The first fonts were Cyrillic alphabets, but she decided to create Latin sets as well, which later became ITC Aspera, ITC Rastko and ITC Hedera.
Stojadinovic’s calligraphy has earned her international awards and her work has been exhibited in many countries. She is now a professor at the Faculty of Applied Arts, where she teaches typeface design and typographic history.