The Tamil language, while being the oldest language to survive, has been typographically famished in the era of digital type. Most of the typefaces that do carry the script simply fail to live up to the inherent beauty of the script or meet the needs of the reader. Designed over the course of two years, Mukta Malar is a product of a disciplined effort in not just designing beautiful forms, but in understanding the script and its nuances. Redesigned three times over, Malar is a project that is forever in beta, constantly evolving with renewed empathy for the declining script. Mukta Malar is for every time, everybody, everywhere and everything. It is an aid to language and most of all you; it exists to serve and wilfully be forgotten, to disappear into the ubiquity and nonchalance of everyday things.
* I was invited by Tamil Sangam in Tamil Nadu to present my research and process of designing Mukta Malar. † The paper titled 'Giving Tamil its Space' is a research paper about the spaces in the Tamil script. For this, a case study of Kerning and Spacing Mukta Malar was presented at Typoday 2016, Bengaluru.
With Support from Noopur Datye, Girish Dalvi, Udaykumar Dharmalingam, Sarang Kulkarni, Shuchita Grover, Sulekha Rajkumar
These are a series of interaction intervention proposals designed for a better learning experience in Adobe Illustrator. The objective was to provide the user a smooth onboarding experience without being too intrusive towards experts. For this I surveyed simple user behaviour, interviewed beginners and experts and devised user experience strategies. While doing my research I designed giga maps and posters to illustrate the system and better communicate with my team mates. While some are extremely small and quaint solutions that pleasantly surprise the user, others are elaborate systems designed to help users understand and use the software more effectively, thus helping them be more productive and creative with their process.
The descriptions for all animations are written within the videos.
The project would not have been possible without the innumerable conversations with and the support and encouragement from Pooja Inamdar.
Shailendra Sinh Jadeja, a phenomenal artist and Hena Najeeb an exquisite book binder embarked upon their first venture of binding and selling books under the brand name Bawarchi. They wanted a logo that would not only hint at, but also parody tradition. The wax seal, stamp and archaic design sensibilities merge with modern quirky details like the animated paper graphic to give their books a divine yet eccentric image.
Auditya Venkatesh, a star in the Indian photography scene, had approached us to design an identity for his campaign Stay Routed. This was an exciting idea of travelling across the Indian subcontinent by road, essaying experiences through a vivid photographic travelogue. The logo tries to capture that very excitement through a simple journey of its own.
Khushnud Khan approached us to design the all important invite for his wedding with Ghazala. The brief was open ended and after a few rounds of discussion we decided to approach the design with a classic Mughal aesthetic. The arabesques are inspired by the exquisite details from the Taj Mahal, while the colours are typically Persian. The design of each card followed a methodical process. First the basic grid inspired by middle eastern Islamic tessellations was designed. These grids were then used to craft the monogram and lay out the patterns in each card. Since we had little knowledge of the script or its workings, we approached a katib to calligraph the monogram and the auspicious saying 'Bismillahirrahmanirahim'. It was an honour to vectorise this divine calligraphic composition. We paid careful attention to every detail by drawing the entire composition in Glyphsapp. Each card was delicately gold-foiled to give it a royal appeal. The cards were housed in a carefully crafted wedding box along with a bottle of handpicked Ittar and a pouch of dry fruits.
The project was done in collaboration with Shuchita Grover. The boxes were made by Kallu Boxes in Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai Prodons Printers from Lower Parel did an excellent job of printing each card with fresh colours and accurate gold foiling.
Baloo is a distinctive heavy spurless design with a subtle tinge of playfulness and all the bare necessities of type. Carefree yet confident, warm yet entertaining, sprightly yet intelligible, Baloo infuses life everywhere it goes. This was an experiment in design where the bolder variant was designed first so that the complex characters could be designed without extending their widths. While each character is subtly animated it retains a calm composure in lighter weights to give Tamil, a convoluted complex script, an airy texture.
* Baloo was awarded the Black Elephant by Kyoorius, 2016 † Baloo was awarded the prestigious Wooden Pencil at the D&AD Awards, 2017
Baloo is an ambitious multilingual project. Baloo Devanagari is designed by Sarang Kulkarni, Gurmukhi by Shuchita Grover, Bangla by Noopur Datye, Oriya by Manish Minz and Shuchita Grover, Gujarati by Supriya Tembe and Noopur Datye, Kannada by Divya Kowshik, Telugu by Omkar Shende, Malayalam by Maithili Shingre, Urdu by Devika Bhansali and Tamil by Aadarsh Rajan. Baloo Latin is collaboratively designed by Ek Type. Font engineering and type design assistance by Girish Dalvi.
Alorved Biosciences is an ayurvedic pharma company producing medication for diabetic and sugar patients. It focuses on producing traditional drugs and promoting their use by emphasising the value and virtue of Indian ayurvedic products. The rebrand focuses on the amalgamation of nature and science while avoiding modern or traditional stereotypes. The company is still in its initial stages and is planning to launch early next year. The details of the logo personify the company but are not suited to the harsh printing environments in the healthcare industry. Hence care was taken to make the logo responsive and adaptive to different environments and different sizes.
Nestaway is a start-up in the housing sector based in Bengaluru. For their ad campaign they designed quirky humourous advertisements with absurd products to communicate the difficulties an average Indian bachelor has in finding rentals and accommodations acoss India. I was commissioned to design the packaging of these products using the aesthetics of graphic design found in toys from the 60s and 70s.
The project was commissioned and guided by Sukruti Tyagi, a Film&Video graduate from the National Institute of Design.
Auditya, of Stay Routed fame, wanted a simple mark for personal use. The monogram employs a penrose triangle (Auditya's spirit geometric shape) and the simplicity of the Stay Routed logo to convey his austere aesthetic sensibilities. It was a deliberate effort to avoid common stereotypes used in photographer's marks. Although, the animation does subtly convey his interests.
As a designer associated with White Crow, I regularly design Tamil logos for various brands. This exercise is a lifelong endeavour to promote multilingual branding and to render the Tamil Script with newer styles.
Pranidhi Gupta, a photographer from Bengaluru, recently collaborated with photographers and art directors and formed Doorbeen Creatives. Inspired by traditional calligraphy and rendered as a stencil mark, the logo tries to capture the youthful yet rooted nature of a collective of varied skills and styles.
By now, Rahul Agarwal’s name in the field of Indian Product Design has already been cemented with his origami inspired folding spoon, Polygon. Soon to launch his kick- starter campaign, Rahul’s spoon needed an equally clever logo to match the product's ingenuity. The result– a logo that clearly communicates the product and its use through nothing but simple yet dynamic type design.
In Urdu, the word Surkh could mean either red pigment or freedom from entanglement. Both meanings have strong visual connotations. On her website, Nidhi Rathore describes Surkh as 'a platform to discuss what people think and to express their views to masses'. The mark tries to embody this local engagement through the design of a multilingual logo and the strength of this platform is communicated by the use of bold and distinct typography.
For my graduation project at the National Institute of Design (NID) Ahmedabad I designed Ek Tamil, now rechristened as Mukta Malar. The institute requires students to document their project for the sake of posterity. For this, I wrote an autobiographical account of the entire process of designing a Tamil font at Ektype. The document includes calligraphic samples, typographic technicalities, various drafts of the process and the evolution of my personal philosophies. To personalise it more, I made a note of the different songs and tracks I heard during the course of the year long project.
Ek Doc is now housed in the Knowledge Management Centre (KMC) at NID, Ahmedabad.
I am thankful to Immanuel Suresh, my project guide from NID and Noopur Datye and Girish Dalvi from Ektype for guiding me through this project
One Plus 5
Soda Films, a small ad film agency from Santacruz, India contacted me to develop graphics for the promotion of the newly released OnePlus 5. The ad was to be aired during Diwali- a festival now associated with all things new. Scripted by Soda Films in a bid to get the Indian audience to purchase the new cell phone during the festive season, the graphic design entailed a hypothetical branding of the titular character, Diwali, and her very own brand of mithai boxes. The last graphic is kitsch title card for a hypothetical film poster within the advertisement. Each piece of typography and graphic was specifically designed for the project save for the use of Aller around the colourful stamp.