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A
Review
of
Family
Planning
 Material
Design
in
India
 Paper
submitted
in
partial
fulfillment
of
requirements
of
the
course
“History
of
 Graphic
Design”
at
Srishti
School
of
Art,
Design
&
Technology


 
 
 
 
 Avni
Sethi,
 3rd
year
Sangama
Interdisciplinary
Lab
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 



 
 



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 21
March
2011



Table
of
Contents
 A. Introduction................................................................................................................................. 3
 B. Family
Planning
and
the
Origin
of
Contemporary
Design
in
India ...................... 3
 C. The
Red
Triangle
Logo ............................................................................................................ 3
 D. Quest
for
a
European‐Style
Grassroots
Modernity..................................................... 4
 E. The
Key
Role
of
DAVP
and
Films
Division

 in
Developing
India’s
Design
Culture................................................................................ 4
 F. DAVP
and
the
Family
Planning
programme .................................................................. 5
 G. Far‐Reaching
Impact
of
the
Emergency
Excesses ....................................................... 6
 H. Content
Analysis:
Imagery..................................................................................................... 6
 I. Content
Analysis:
Messaging ................................................................................................ 7
 J. The
Contemporary
Poster:
Aligned
with
Neo‐Liberal
Consumerism................. 7
 K. Interplay
Between
Styling
and
(Printing)
Technology ............................................. 8
 L. Conclusion:
Design
as
Adjunct
to
(Social)
Marketing ................................................ 8
 M. Bibliography ................................................................................................................................ 9
 
 
 List
of
Illustrations
 1. The
original
logo
of
the
Family
Planning
programme
in
India.............................. 3
 2. Graphics
of
the
family
planning
campaign
in
its
early
years.................................. 4
 3. The
ubiquitous
‘four
faces’
Family
Planning
mass
media
campaign................... 5
 4. The
modified
‘red
triangle’
logo .......................................................................................... 6
 5. Posters
published
by
the
Directorate
of
Family
Welfare,
circa
1993 ................. 6
 6. A
one‐child
‘happy
family’
image,
with
a
girl
as
the
sole
child .............................. 7
 7. Publicity
image
for
the
Saathiya
integrated
family
planning
service ................. 8
 8. A
recent
poster
and
advertisement
showing
high
narrative
content
 and
use
of
digital
imaging
technology .............................................................................. 8


Page
2
of
9



A. Introduction
 
 
 This
paper
is
a
review
of
graphic
design
material
published
for,
by
and
under
the
 Family
Planning
programme
of
India
over
the
years
–
using
visual
references
 (mostly
posters,
but
also
wall
paintings
and
print
advertisements)
collated
from
 various
internet
sources.
The
paper
intends
to
analyze
both,
content
as
well
as
 form,
in
this
overview
–
in
terms
of
the
politics
underlying
the
messaging
as
well
 as
the
selection
of
style
and
aesthetics
of
the
form
–
as
evidenced
in
the
posters.
 Further,
it
attempts
to
correlate
these
with
the
history
and
evolution
of
the
 discourse
of
design
theory
as
well
as
praxis
in
post‐independence
India,
and
with
 a
glance
at
contemporary
Indian
graphic
design,
advertising
design
and
fine
and
 applied
art
trends.
Through
this,
it
is
hoped
to
demonstrate
how
design
in
India
 originated
high
on
idealism
and
aesthetics,
but
over
the
years
has
to
‘stoop
low’
–
 into
the
popular
and
commercial
–
in
order
to
remain
viable
and
perceived
as
 relevant,
while
remaining
ingenuous
to
the
political
aspect
of
its
deployment.
 
 B. Family
Planning
and
the
Origin
of
Contemporary
Design
in
India
 
 The
Family
Planning
programme
in
India
was
introduced
as
early
as
1951‐52,
 with
the
advent
of
the
five‐year
plan
system,
and
communication
was
conceived
 as
a
vital
component
for
it
to
be
successful.
In
the
early
years
of
the
Indian
state,
 there
were
two
forms
of
design
activity
sponsored
by
it
–
adaptation
of
colonial
 artefacts
and
designs
for
an
independent
Indian
identity,
and
commissioning
of
 entirely
new
artefacts,
monuments
and
designs
in
alignment
with
the
vision
of
 India.

 
 In
the
pre‐independence
era,
Indian
graphic
design
had
closely
followed
western
 trends,
but
also
indigenous
movements
in
the
arts
like
the
Bengal
school.
Much
 of
the
design
work
produced
during
the
independence
movement
reflects
this.
 After
independence,
this
trend
got
adapted
from
nationalistic
to
nation‐building
 messaging.
Much
of
government‐commissioned
mass
media
and
public
 communication
followed
this
trend,
including
the
Family
Planning
programme
as
 well.
The
city
of
New
Delhi
might
be
upheld
as
an
instance
of
the
former,
while
 the
city
of
Chandigarh
may
be
upheld
as
an
instance
 of
the
latter.
 
 C. The
Red
Triangle
Logo
 
 One
of
the
earliest
icons
of
this
programme
is
its
 justifiably
famous
‘Red
Triangle/Lal
Tikon’
logo
 (fig.1).
Attributed
to
the
first
Assistant
Commissioner
 
 of
the
Indian
Family
Planning
programme,
Deep
 Figure
1.
The
original
logo
 Tyagi
as
well
as
the
National
Institute
of
Design
and
 of
the
Family
Planning
 commissioned
during
the
fourth
Five‐Year
Plan
 programme
in
India.
 period
(1969‐1974)1,
this
logo
manifested
the
 























































 1
On
the
website
of
the
Ministry
of
Family
Welfare:
“It
was
during
the
Fourth
Five
year
Plan
that


communication
efforts
began
to
be
much
more
meaningful.
The
famous
Red
Triangle
symbol
for
 family
planning
was
conceived
during
this
period
and
a
national
campaign
was
launched…”
at
 http://www.mohfw.nic.in/dofw%20website/family%20welfare%20programme/iec.htm.



Page
3
of
9



nation’s
need
for
a
progressive
and
contemporary
identity
that
it
commissioned
 from
its
design
institutions.

 
 The
logo,
an
abstraction
of
the
yoni
from
Tantra
and
coloured
red
for
fertility,
 became
an
international
icon
for
Family
Planning
in
the
years
to
come.

 
 D. Quest
for
a
European­Style
Grassroots
Modernity
 
 Along
with
the
logo
were
developed
the
soon‐to‐be
ubiquitous
icons
of
a
‘small,
 happy
family’
comprising
a
man,
a
woman,
and
their
son
and
daughter
–
 rendered
in
a
graphic
abstract
style
comprised
of
circles
straight
lines
(fig.
2).
 Interestingly,
in
a
study2
on
the
communication
effectiveness
of
a
family
 planning
campaign
in
north
India,
respondents
described
these
icons
as
‘monkey
 faces’
and
expressed
their
dislike
for
it.
However,
it
is
apparent
that
these
should
 earn
acclaim
from
the
design
practitioners
and
ideologues
of
the
time,
for
its
 highly
international
graphic
styling,
yet
imbued
with
Indian
colours
and
 calligraphy.


Figure
2.
The
modernist,
abstracted
and
highly
simplified
graphics
of
the
family
planning
campaign
in
 its
early
years.



 E. The
Key
Role
of
DAVP
and
Films
Division
in
Developing
India’s
Design
 Culture
 
 The
Directorate
of
Advertising
and
Visual
Publicity
(DAVP)
was
set
up
under
the
 British
government
after
the
second
world
war
in
order
to
serve
as
the
Public
 























































 2
Unpublished
dissertation
by
Bhargava,
Yashodhara:
“An
evaluation
of
a
few
of
the
family


planning
posters”,
Lady
Irwin
College,
University
of
Delhi
1968;
cited
in
Rao,
Kamala
Gopal:
 “Studies
in
Family
Planning:
India”,
Abhinav
Publications,
New
Delhi
1974.
Quote:
“The
younger
 women
objected
to
the
cartoon­like
faces
which
they
characterized
as
monkey
faces,
the
message
 (do
ya
teen
bus)
in
Poster
C,
and
the
presentation
of
the
loop
in
Poster
B.
The
red
triangular
symbol
 on
Poster
D
apparently
communicated
very
little.”
 


Page
4
of
9



Relations
as
well
as
Advertising
Agency
of
the
government3
–
in
other
words,
as
 its
official
propaganda
machinery.
After
independence,
the
DAVP
reinvented
 itself
as
a
“catalyst
of
social
change
and
economic
growth”
and
is
the
default
 service
agency
for
Central
Government
ministries
and
departments
for
their
 publicity
and
media
production
needs.

 
 The
other
major
outreach
arm
for
the
Indian
state
was
the
Films
Division,
set
up
 in
1948.
Regional
as
well
as
Hindi
cinema
were
already
popular
well
before
 independence,
and
the
Films
Division
began
producing
news
features
and
issue‐ based
documentaries
that
were
mandatorily
screened
prior
to
every
 commercial/popular
film
screening.
Between
them,
the
DAVP
and
the
Films
 Division
pretty
much
defined
the
media
image
&
presence
of
the
Indian
state
for
 the
first
two
decades
after
independence,
and
the
Indian
design
establishment
 was
often
a
collaborator
and
provider
of
creative
ideas.4
 
 F. DAVP
and
the
Family
Planning
programme
 
 The
DAVP
was
the
chief
propagator
of
the
 Family
Planning
programme
in
India,
and
 undertook
a
massive
and
consistent
 campaign
to
reach
out
its
message
to
every
 possible
nook
and
corner
of
the
country
 (fig.
3)
–
in
an
age
when
mass
media
was
 just
beginning
to
take
shape
in
India5.
 
 This
campaign,
combining
international
 modernism
with
vernacular,
represents
in
 many
ways
the
particular
visual
language
 
 that
was
sought
to
be
invented
and
applied
 Figure
3.
The
ubiquitous
‘four
faces’
 by
and
for
the
nation.
It
seemed
to
make
 Family
Planning
mass
media
campaign,
 sense
–
the
language
was
minimal,
simple
 created
in
1968
by
Frank
Wilder
and
D.
 and
abstract
–
so
that
it
could
overcome
or
 K.
Tyagi.
 bypass
the
multitudes
of
Indian
languages
 and
visual
traditions
into
a
single
national
 coda.
It
could
also
be
applied
with
least
distortion
by
hand.
Design
promised
to
 deliver
such
a
vision
to
the
state
through
its
supposedly
scientific
principles
and
 























































 3
Sourced
from
the
DAVP
website
at
http://www.davp.nic.in/davp_history.HTM.


4
Vikas
Satwalekar,
ex‐Director
of
NID,
reminisces:
“With
Bob
Gill
it
was
quite
interesting
as
he


was
bought
in
to
work
on
a
family
planning
communications
campaign
with
the
ministry
of
health.
 And
that’s
where
I
got
the
opportunity
to
get
involved
with
visual
communications
at
a
different
 level,
more
than
just
advertising
or
pure
graphic
design.”
Sourced
from
the
‘Design
in
India’
 website
at
http://www.designinindia.net/design­thoughts/teachers/vikas­ satwalekar/interview.html.
 5
Wooster,
Martin
Morse:
“Ford
Foundation:
Founder
of
Modern
Population
Control”,
Catholic
 Family
and
Human
Rights
Institute,
New
York
2004.
Quote:
“This
was
the
campaign
of
the
‘four
 faces,’
a
four­member
family
that
symbolized
how
happy
parents
would
be
if
they
limited
themselves
 to
two
children.
Advertisements
for
this
campaign,
McCarthy
writes,
were
plastered
on
‘billboards,
 buses,
locomotives
–
anything
that
moved
and
many
things
that
did
not
were
adorned
with
the
new
 symbols
in
an
attempt
to
raise
consciousness
about
contraceptive
use.’”


Page
5
of
9



methods,
proven
in
Europe
and
the
US,
and
ready
for
export
to
the
newly‐ independent
countries
of
Asia
and
South
America6.
 
 G. Far­Reaching
Impact
of
the
Emergency
Excesses
 
 However,
the
equity
enjoyed
by
this
logo
got
 severely
tarnished
during
the
Emergency
 period
in
the
1970s
in
India,
after
which
it
got
 associated
with
state
brutality
and
oppression
 and
had
to
be
‘forcibly
retired’
and
developed
 
 into
more
acceptable
variants,
such
as
the
one
 Figure
4.
The
tainted
‘red
triangle’
 shown
here.
The
later
logos
of
the
Family
 logo
was
modified,
but
retained
its
 core
recall.
(From
the
Dept.
of
 Planning
programme
(which
itself
got
 Family
Welfare
website)

 renamed
to
Reproductive
and
Child
Health
 programme
and
many
others,
post‐ Emergency)
reject
the
stark
abstraction
of
the
red
triangle
and
instead
insert
a
 human
element
thereby
evoking
a
narrative
and
emotional
value,
whilst
 retaining
the
triangular
motif
in
order
to
draw
on
the
high
recall
value
of
the
 legacy
logo,
minus
its
negative
connotations
(fig.
4).
 


Figure
5.
Posters
published
by
the
Directorate
of
Family
Welfare,
circa
1993.
(Source:
 PBS.org
website,
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/campaigns.html)



 H. Content
Analysis:
Imagery
 
 The
colours
used
in
the
early
campaigns
were
European‐inspired
(red,
yellow,
 black)
but
also
resonated
with
a
dominantly
Hindu
aesthetic.
The
woman’s
icon
 was
shown
with
a
prominent
bindi,
while
the
man
had
a
prominent
mustache
–
 another
common
Hindu
marker
–
or
as
in
the
case
of
the
relatively
more
recent
 























































 6
Exemplified
by
the
“India
Report”
authored
by
Charles
and
Ray
Eames,
commissioned
by
the


Government
of
India
and
funded
by
the
Ford
Foundation.
The
full
report
can
be
read
at
the
 Design
Observer
website,
at
http://observatory.designobserver.com/entry.html?entry=12692.


Page
6
of
9



posters
in
fig.
5
–
showing
a
clearly
Hindu
child
marriage
in
progress7.
This
need
 not
be
read
as
a
sinister
conspiracy,
because
the
religious
antagonism
of
Islam
 (and
some
streams
of
Christianity)
to
contraception
was
well‐known8,
and
the
 secular
state
would
do
nothing
to
overtly
offend
these
sections
of
its
population.
 
 However,
over
the
times
it
becomes
evident
that
this
modernist
approach
was
 not
entirely
successful.
The
abstraction
and
the
stark
representation
of
one
 community
created
more
antagonism
or
indifference
altogether,
and
the
design
 idealism
in
the
wake
of
the
newly‐formed
state
seems
to
give
way
to
a
humbler
 pragmatism
–
in
particular,
a
grudging
acceptance
of
the
effectiveness
of
popular
 forms
–
be
it
cinema,
television,
illustration
(from
pulp
novels
or
magazines
and
 Amar
Chitra
Katha)
or
other
folk
media.
 
 I. Content
Analysis:
Messaging
 
 One
of
the
major
elements
incorporated
 within
the
Family
Planning
programme
is
 the
emphasis
on
a
family
with
(“just”)
two
 or
three
children,
and
the
shift
to
one
with
 just
one
or
two
children.
Also,
in
the
first‐ generation
family
planning
messaging,
the
 ideal
family
was
shown
as
having
one
son
 and
one
daughter,
but
in
recent
times
the
 emphasis
has
shifted
to
showing
just
one
 daughter
(see
fig.
6)–
and
advocating
the
 cause
of
the
girl
child.
Obviously
then,
this
 is
in
response
to
the
still‐poor
gender
ratio
 in
many
states
of
the
country
and
the
 widespread
persistence
of
aborting
a
 female
fetus
based
on
sex
determination
 testing
during
pregnancy.
However,
as
is
 
 Figure
6.
A
one­child
“happy
family”
 evident,
the
styling
of
the
posters
has
come
 image,
with
a
girl
as
the
sole
child.
 a
long
way
from
the
sterile
abstraction
of
 the
early
days
to
a
strong
sentimentality
 that
evokes
multiple
narratives
including
that
of
the
popular
cinema.
These
 posters
and
their
styling
reminds
one
of
the
Latin
American
mural
traditions,
a
 marked
shift
away
from
European
modernity.
 
 J. The
Contemporary
Poster:
Aligned
with
Advertising

 
 Moving
on
from
the
Malthusian
doomsday
theories
of
the
1960s
and
70s,
the
 recent
materials
developed
for
the
Family
Welfare
programme
(the
recent
avatar
 of
the
Family
Planning
programme)
now
emphasize
the
quality
of
life
enjoyed
by
 

























































7
The
headline
of
the
poster
on
the
left
translates
as
“Is
their
marriage
at
this
age
appropriate?”


and
then
goes
on
to
say
“Under­age
marriage
is
not
appropriate…”
 8
Ahmad,
Shakeel:
“Muslim
Attitude
Towards
Family
Planning”,
Sarup
and
Sons,
New
Delhi
2003.


Quote:
“(M.
E.
Khan)
noticed
that
religion
is
a
barrier
to
the
(Muslim)
adopters.
They
hold
fast
to
 the
doctrinaire
concept
that
family
planning
is
against
Islam.
To
accept
contraception
means
to
 fight
against
God;
even
thinking
(of)
stopping
to
have
children
is
a
revolt
against
God.”



Page
7
of
9



the
family
unit
(represented
now
as
a
couple
with
no
children,
fig.
7)
–
thanks
to
 contraception
techniques.
This
mode
also
resonates
with
contemporary
 advertising,
which
advocates
instant
gratification
and
unapologetic
 individualism
and
hedonistic
values,
as
 opposed
to
the
‘duty
to
society
or
the
nation’
 morality
of
earlier
generations
of
advertising,
 particularly
state
propaganda.

 
 K. Interplay
Between
Styling
and
 (Printing)
Technology
 
 The
shift
in
printing
technology
is
also
 reflected
in
the
styling
of
the
material.
From
 
 flat
and
primary
colours,
which
are
suitable
 for
hand
painting
or
screen‐printing,
the
 Figure
7.
Publicity
image
for
the
 USAID­supported
Saathiya
 technology
shifted
at
some
point
to
offset
and
 integrated
family
planning
service
 gravure
printing,
which
allowed
for
full‐colour
 targeting
young
people.
 collateral.
In
tandem
almost,
the
styling
shifted
 from
basic
geometric
shapes
and
icons
to
realistic
representations
–
rich
in
 narrative,
and
evocative
of
cinema
posters
–
corresponding
to
an
evolution
in
the
 aesthetic
to
a
form
that
is
closer
to
the
popular
imagination.
 
 
 This
style
seamlessly
blends
in
with
new
trends
like
photography
and
tools
like
 Photoshop
becoming
increasingly
used
in
producing
material,
as
in
the
example
 below
(fig.
8).
 






Figure
8.
A
recent
poster
and
advertisement,
showing
high
narrative
content
and
 use
of
digital
imaging
technology


L. Conclusion:
Design
as
Adjunct
to
Marketing
 
 The
present
status,
therefore,
seems
to
suggest
a
convergence
of
‘high
design’
 and
‘popular/folk
art’
towards
each
other.
The
lofty
principles
of
classical
design


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have
yielded
to
the
needs
and
contexts
of
marketing
to
the
mass
Indian
 population,
whereas
the
popular
forms
have
adopted
some
of
the
principles
of
 layout
and
organization
espoused
in
modern
design.
It
is
still
debatable,
 however,
whether
this
has
increased
the
efficiency
and
efficacy
of
the
 communication
material,
because
India’s
population
growth
continues
at
an
 alarming
rate,
and
changes
are
attributed
to
development
and
education
rather
 than
communication.
This
also
poses
questions
about
social
communication
in
 contrast
with
marketing,
which
boasts
of
several
‘behaviour
change’
projects,
 albeit
in
consumption
trends.

 
 M. Bibliography
 • Ahmad,
Shakeel:
“Muslim
Attitude
Towards
Family
Planning”,
Sarup
and
Sons,
 New
Delhi
2003.
 • Guha,
Ramachandra:
“India
After
Gandhi:
The
History
of
the
World’s
Largest
 Democracy”,
Picador
India,
New
Delhi
2008

 • Rao,
Kamala
Gopal:
“Studies
in
Family
Planning:
India”,
Abhinav
Publications,
 New
Delhi
1974.
 • Wooster,
Martin
Morse:
“Ford
Foundation:
Founder
of
Modern
Population
 Control”,
Catholic
Family
and
Human
Rights
Institute,
New
York
2004.


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A Review of Family Planning Material Design in India