Modern hand lettering of India

Two interesting type-related snippets came across my desk this week, both from India: hand drawn movie posters from Bangalore and digital fonts created from the lettering of street painters in Delhi…

Two interesting typographic snippets came across my desk this week, both from India:

1. HandpaintedType

The initiative of Delhi based designer Hanif Kureshi, HandpaintedType is a collaborative project aimed at capturing the rapidly-disappearing lettering styles of street painters across India.

The idea is to document the particular typographic style of individual sign painters. Each artist pruduces a character set on canvas, which is redrawn digitally and eventually released as a commercially available font. Apparently 50% of the proceeds from every font sale goes to the painter and the other half is invested in the continuation of the project.

Here’s an example of an original character set, hand painted in Old Delhi by an artist called Kafeel:

Hand painted lettering from India

Hand painted lettering from India

Due to the multicoloured nature of the Indian street typography, once digitised, each font consists of different layers; a base shape with shadows and highlights. These can then be used in different colour combinations to create the full effect:

Hand painted lettering from India

Hand painted lettering from India

Hand painted lettering from India

Find out more from handpaintedtype.com.

2. Hand drawn movie posters

“Dean Pickles” of Asia Obscura came across a factory north of Bangalore, where a man called Ramachandraiah prints movie posters for a living, using a lithographic press from 1901.

His [posters] are five-color, hand-drawn, and measure just 20 inches by 30 inches. They’re printed on thin paper, and illegally slapped up on building sites and highway overpasses late at night. They cost pennies to print. And they’re absolutely gorgeous.

The artist, Raju, speedily draws these posters at a  small desk on the sidewalk – about one artwork every three hours!

Raju drawing movie posters

These are the result:

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Hand drawn movie posters from India

Amazing, aren’t they? For more on the subject, see part one and part two of the story on Asia Obscura.

Author: Imar

Imar Krige is a professional graphic designer and typography enthusiast from Cape Town, South Africa.

3 thoughts on “Modern hand lettering of India”

  1. wow! that first font is amazing! such detail and so much work that goes into it!
    and the posters…love it!!

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