How The Graphik Indic Project Is Turning Indian Languages Into Versatile Typefaces

The Graphik Indic Project
The Graphik Indic ProjectHitesh Malaviya

India's linguistic landscape is a testament to its rich cultural heritage, boasting a myriad of languages, each adorned with a unique script that reflects centuries of tradition and evolution. From the flowing curves of Devanagari to the intricate loops of Tamil, these scripts not only convey language but also embody a visual narrative deeply rooted in history and culture. The diversity of Indian scripts serves as a wellspring of inspiration for artists and designers, offering a canvas where tradition meets innovation in a harmonious blend of aesthetics.

In this vibrant milieu, 'November', a plural practice founded by Juhi Vishnani and Shiva Nallaperumal in 2018, stands at the intersection of design, culture, and typography. Their work spans a wide spectrum, from crafting identity systems to designing typefaces, weaving together elements of tradition and contemporary design sensibilities. One of their notable ventures is the Graphik Indic Project, a collaborative effort that delves into the nuances of Indian scripts through a modern lens.

Hitesh Malviya is a font designer with a passion for creating fonts for various Indic scripts, Latin and non-Latin scripts, for both retail and custom purposes, and suitable for web and print. He specializes in designing fonts that can stand alone or be part of bilingual and multilingual type systems, maintaining a consistent visual aesthetic across different scripts within the same type family. On the other hand, Arya Purohit, a Type and Graphic Designer based in Mumbai, focuses on multi-lingual typeface design, particularly in Devanagari, Bangla, Tamil, and Gujarati scripts. His work includes designing typefaces and lettering pieces for clients, with notable releases like the November and October Devanagari and Tamil typefaces.

The genesis of the Graphik Indic Project can be traced back to Graphik, a typeface designed by Christian Schwartz in 2009, which reimagined mid-century typefaces with a fresh perspective. Building upon this foundation, November partnered with Commercial Type, a joint venture between Paul Barnes and Christian Schwartz, to create Indic companions to the iconic Graphik family. The result is a series of typefaces that breathe new life into traditional scripts while maintaining their essence.

The Graphik Indic Project
The Graphik Indic ProjectHitesh Malaviya

The first instalment, Graphik Devanagari, designed by type designer Hitesh Malaviya, pays homage to the elegance of Devanagari script. Malaviya's meticulous attention to detail is evident in the seamless integration of Graphik's low-contrast design ethos with the intricacies of Devanagari's strokes and curves. The typeface, available in 9 weights, strikes a balance between functionality and visual appeal, making it versatile for various design applications.

The Graphik Indic Project
The Graphik Indic ProjectArya Purohit

Second in the series, Graphik Bangla emerges as the second chapter, crafted by Graphic and Type Designer Arya Purohit. Adapting the calligraphic nuances of Bangla script to Graphik's monolinear aesthetic posed a unique challenge, yet Purohit's adept handling of form and texture resulted in a typeface that exudes warmth and readability. The inclusion of ball terminals adds a touch of classic charm to Graphik Bangla, harmonizing traditional and modern design elements seamlessly.

The final piece of the puzzle, Graphik Tamil, designed by Hitesh Malaviya, showcases the complexities of Tamil script with finesse. Hitesh's approach emphasizes weight distribution and optical correction, ensuring a smooth texture across different weights and sizes. The result is a default low-contrast Tamil typeface that upholds Graphik's signature simplicity while embracing Tamil's intricate loops and counters.

The Graphik Indic Project is an intersection of design ingenuity and cultural preservation. The collaborative project takes India's rich scriptural heritage into the typographic playground; fusing traditional, regional elements with contemporary design sensibilities. As these Graphik Indic typefaces find their way into diverse design landscapes, they not only embody the essence of Indian scripts, but also serve as storytellers and ambassadors of cultural identity on a global stage that resonating with audiences who appreciate the beauty and intricacy of linguistic expression.

Follow Shiva Nallaperumal here.

Follow Hitesh Malaviya here.

Follow Arya Purohit here.