Bangalore’s change to Bengaluru, has been mirrored by the city’s transformation over the past 10 years. The pristine Garden City, that served as a retreat for not only surrounding South Indian regions but also for the British, is now the bustling IT capital of India.
I moved here 12 months ago and immediately recognized how much technology had shaped the city. From ordering groceries and pre-booking cabs to banking and creating digitized content, Bangalore has produced, adopted and embraced the highest level of automation.
I was interested in unearthing native forms of craft that still thrived in the city and, as a graphic designer, typography instinctively caught my eye. I began focusing on the non-digital side of typography — the side dominated by analog artists.
Typography is the art of selecting, designing and arranging type. Because this technique places eternal emphasis on creative intuition, execution bares deep insight into the skill set of the designer. A signature, for example, is instinctual and renders very specific characteristics of its maker.
With significant improvement over time, this technique has convoluted a creative channel through which words can visually convey emotion. It is incredible to think that the simple choice of typeface can either confess an aura of importance or elicit a vibe of playfulness. Despite the accentuation on aesthetic, the utilitarian function of typography is fundamental. A typeface may place different degrees of priority on different elements to enhance readability, coherency and navigation but will generally consider principles like size, width, ink, color, alignment, spacing and hierarchy.
Even though we have entered a hyper-digitized age, analog practices continue to meet an indestructible, inherent and permanent need in human nature. Where digital typography serves as a product of industrialization in the form an assembly line with the ability to recreate infinitely and exactly, its handwritten counterpart has a singular quality. But despite the distinct and demarcated divorce between craft and technology, we are at the point where they can supplement and complement each other at every layer. As long as integrity and truth are maintained, the beauty of the form is entitled to take care of itself. They have converged to create tools like digital modeling, 3D printing, virtual reality, augmented reality and machine learning.
Analog typography, at its roots, refers to the physical activity, fluid intelligence and skill involved with determining the appearance and vitality of the printed medium. Because creative authenticity is epitomized when its genesis is analog, typography and idiosyncratic iterations serve to heighten the senses.
Analog typography has concerns that are specific to the nature of the craft such as margins, medium selection and application methods (Any others??). With an inherent inconvenience and indefinite margin for error, the popularity of this method plays advocate to the theory of futureshock and is an ode to the collective power of consumers. By endearing detail, slowness, reflection, authenticity, handmade culture and humanity, analog typography has antagonised the formality, functionality and perceived perfection of contemporary digital culture.
Typography endorses the love of handwork and Bangalore’s hidden gems were the perfect way to unearth that embrace. That said, the movement from manually drawing type for shops, vehicles and residences to effortlessly printing similar digital signages, is a step towards the future and a testament to the evolution of the city.
One entity that appears to be abundantly safe from this evolution is water trucks. Bangalore is a city plagued with water shortage so it is a common sight to see large tankers scurrying to replenish ground levels. With the water situation worsening, the craft has found solace with a peculiar patron.
Come share your love for typography at 1st Main and send us photographs of your local Handwritten type.