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May, 2014

A Publication by Tabrez Pathan

THE

INDIAN LETTERFORM

INDIA STREET GRAPHIC PANORAMA

Bollywood movie poster art

WESTERN INFLUENCE

Why India finally cares about Design

PROJECT: FONT OK PLEASE


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INDIA STREET GRAPHIC PANORAMA India’s unique take on art, through tradition and culture is what makes it most appealing to the general masses.

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Vivid street graphics seen on every

which also acts as a form of escapism

corner of the street, help express and

both visually and psychologically from

communicate every aspect of Indian life;

their social reality.  From professional

may it be political, religious, commercial or

sign writers, shopkeepers to truck and

any other day-to-day practice or festivity.

taxi drivers, these sign writers and skilled

The dense street imagery generates an

craftsmen all play a major role in modern

overwhelming visual collage whilst offering

day Indian street graphics.

an inside story of the individual in question,

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ollywood movie p larger than life des Hand painted Indian letter form, a complex

have been passed down from generation

art, dated and practiced many years

to generation, using a wide array of locally

ago not only served as a medium for

available colours and typography in an

publicity and advertising during the golden

attempt to capture the essence of the plot

Bollywood film era but also depicted the

of the story;  for instance, pink was the

social structure and ideology at the time.

colour used to depict love, whereas blue

Vintage Bollywood posters were hand-

was the colour of choice to portray villainy.

rendered by talented movie poster artists of yesteryears, whose craftsmanship skills


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poster artists rendered signs. These Bollywood movie poster artists

and artists can simply cut the images out

created larger than life designs,

from still photos of actors, in Bollywood

captivating the audience’s attention with

filmography’s case, and then paste them

an authentic form of art and heritage

in a collage fashion on to a canvas board

that has virtually disappeared of the

with a hand painted background.  This

scene with the innovation brought by

resulted in the fading away of  hand

computer design technology. These

painted typical art  along with their skilled

techniques are much faster and required

artists and their replacement with fast-

very little creativity where the designers

paced mass production methods.


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Western Influence


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India has traditionally absorbed aspects of foreign cultures throughout history, whilst adapting them to fit Indian customs, making them uniquely Indian. One particular example is the English language, left behind from the British colonisation, to become one of the country’s official languages to date. From municipal buildings to road traffic signs, the English language is commonly used throughout the country’s urban areas. Similarly, with advertising and marketing styles and techniques from the West, the booming economic urban culture of India swiftly transitioned and adapted these Western influences; to a point where even Hindi cinema, veritably India’s pride and heritage, is now quickly drifting towards a more westernised style, visually similar to with the action genre.


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Why India finally cares about design


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“looking inwards rather than mimicking the west”. As a consequence of adapting these Western

“Eager to bounce back from the recession, India

customs to boost its own economy over the

started to ask bigger questions and demand

years, India inevitably started to lose its original

more from its designers; looking inwards rather

and authentic identity and heritage. Many

than mimicking the West. Designers were given a

of these talented hand painted artists and

real opportunity to define the country’s very own

craftsmen have gone out of business and are now

creative identity.”

unheard of. In the midst of the ever growing world of consumerism, something extraordinary happened to the Indian market.  In the article ‘Why India finally cares about Design’, Chaitanya Rele, a brand strategist and consultant explains;


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PROJECT:

FONT OK PLEASE It is this sense of awakening and positive

graphic designers, the importance of using

attitude towards these culturally traditional

their original, authentic sources, instead of

designs that have inspired the idea behind

outsourcing from other cultures and trends.

my project; with the aim and opportunity

With the objective of harnessing the

of developing an old aesthetic art into the

digital design innovation whilst preserving

modern world of graphic design.

an authentic art, I have used a Western

In the streets of India, you will undoubtedly

typeface with an Indian fusion, by adding

witness an aspiring and unique culture of

decorations to the letterforms to ultimately

truck and taxi art. In a land where highway

achieve a modern design with an authentic

code signs and even road lanes are a rare

aesthetic feel to my project.

sight, truck drivers improvise by using

In keeping with this authentic theme

warning messages, such as, ‘Horn Ok

throughout my project, I have translated

Please’ in various styles and colours to warn

this digital ‘Font Ok Please’ design onto

other road users.

planks of wood as a way of embracing the

I have always been fascinated by the people

craftsmen’s skills of these trucks and taxis

behind this art, hence, the connection

drivers, who decorate their vehicles with

with my ’Font Ok Please’ project.  I

vivid designs and colours.

wanted to create a metaphorical concept to communicate to the upcoming Indian


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HELVETICA

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DIDOT

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IMPACT

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THE

INDIAN LETTERFORM Tabrez Pathan FINAL YEAR THREE PROJECT CHELSEA COLLEGE OF ART, 2014


Font Ok Please