You Gave Us Type!
India – a land of diverse regions and cultures, is yet an united country. In the land of many languages Typography has provided the visual bridge of concept recognition of any entity among the masses. Typography today is script transformed into Art! Writing a visual translation of verbal language possessing the ability to spark imagination, creativity and sometimes exaggeration of emotions through this act of creating written works and the role of typography is to make sure that these words are heard.
Formal, funk, poster, punk, gore and grudge you name it all there is a typographer in every corner of the city creating fonts that would satisfy every design demands. Our culture has already made the common man recognize the symbolism of the written word –( be it OM! SHIV!SHIV! NARAYAN! For example) in any Indian language. This foundation is on which today advt. agencies have taken further to present the concept of a product, a thought or brand identity in the modern and contemporary idiom. For years there had been a strive amongst the typographers to bridge the gap between culture and design given the numerous reasons i.e., recognition of product or brand in a new place or culture, regional ligatures provide more typographic inspirations, brand recall, promotion and so on.
CROSS CULTURE INSPIRATION! As creative ideologists we are those multi-tasking souls constantly on the prowl for inspiration. When you come across a wall with a distinct perspective dipping into the blackness of an alley, that’s where one finds some of the city’s best graffiti and street art hidden away only for those eager souls to find. And while you are on the way to unravel these typographic mysteries we have the juice stalls, chaat corners and chai bombarding you with those brilliantly bold hand painted sign boards. On the contrary, down south the street art is predominantly for political promotion, hair saloons, movie posters, and auto rickshaw art. This difference is in the cultural diversification.
Positivity of native art in a different culture:
A foreign language to an unknown person sparks imagination for e.g.; Telugu script looks like pieces of jalebie strewn across the board, while Arabic looks like waves and ships and thus for a professional designer written script is always a fantastic design. It is not that you pick a language and go berserk with the fonts available; cross culture typography requires understanding both the ligature and design in connection with the very nature of interpretation and in connection with its scope and significance.
Every language has a unique character, a personality of the cultural origin that is reflected through words. It is the responsibility of a good designer to interpret these hand lettered scripts retaining its original characteristic and while interpretation keeping in mind the demands of good design, readability and legibility, especially with large amounts of text, requires attention to the size of type, the length of the typeset line and the space between characters, words, lines and paragraphs. Since most of the street art inspired typography are used as display fonts we shall not worry much about the paragraph settings.
We as designers/ creative’s are the interpreter while culture is the author, it is up to us to understand the ligature side and interpret it righteously through our art thus enriching both the culture and the profession, design. Regional identities, cultural mores and linguistics affinities should be strengthened for the success of the multi-culturalism, Street art and commercial art offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring cultures together. What is required of artists is deep knowledge of their own language, culture and civilization mores and a will to perform and succeed in different regions and; cultures of the country.