Ek Type's Jaini Font Intersects Classic Calligraphy & Modern Type Design

Ek Type's Jaini Font Intersects Classic Calligraphy & Modern Type Design
Ek Type

Ever wondered what ancient Indian writing looked like? Look no further than Ek Type, a design studio that creates fonts for all varieties of Indian languages. Their latest creation, Jaini Devanagari, isn't your average design font. It's based on how people wrote religious texts way back in 1503. 

The world of typography contains a rich variety of scripts, each carrying the weight of tradition and whispering tales of the cultures they represent. Among these gems is Jaini, a Devanagari typeface that bridges the gap between ancient Jain manuscripts and contemporary design. 

Jaini draws inspiration from the exquisite calligraphy found in Jain Kalpasūtra manuscripts. These sacred texts, meticulously handwritten for centuries, hold immense significance within Jainism. The 1503 Kalpasūtra manuscript serves as Jaini's primary source, and its influence is evident in the typeface's unique characteristics.

Jaini has some unique features that set it apart from other Indian fonts. The letters have a squarish look, just like the symmetrical patterns (mandalas) you might see in temples. Jaini also features "heavy knots" and a clever integration of lower "mātrās," diacritics that refine pronunciation, within the "kāna height" for a visually cohesive appearance.

However, the designers at Ek Type understood that complete adherence to the historical script might pose challenges for modern readers. For this reason, they carefully redesigned certain letterforms to enhance legibility while maintaining the essence of the ancient style. Jaini embraces the contemporary preference for horizontal conjuncts, while Jaini Purva stays true to the vertical stacking of letters observed in the original manuscripts. One lets you type with letters stacked on top of each other, just like the ancient manuscripts. The other lets them flow horizontally, like most fonts you're used to.

Jaini's Latin companion deserves its own spotlight. Drawing inspiration from the way Latin scripts are often hand-lettered in Devanagari-dominant regions, the Latin characters exhibit a unique tilt, mirroring the Devanagari pen angle. This subtle detail, along with a hint of the "shirorekha," creates a harmonious visual bridge between the two languages within a single typeface.

The arrival of Jaini and Jaini Purva on Google Fonts marks a significant moment for typography enthusiasts. More than being aesthetically pleasing; it shows how much Ek Type cares about keeping India's unique writing styles alive. It's perfect for anyone who loves languages, and history, or just wants their text to stand out from the crowd. With Jaini, the past whispers its stories through the written word, finding a voice in the digital age.

Find out more here.