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You are here: Home / Conferences / Amsterdam 2013 / Presentation programme

Indian politics: typography

When Wed 09 Oct 1150
Where Krasnapolsky A
What Non-Latin
Who D. Udaya Kumar

India is the largest democracy in the world and it follows the parliamentary system governed under the Constitution of India. The Government of India is the governing authority of a federal union of 28 states and 7 union territories. India has a multiparty system, national and states with various regional parties, some established and some mushrooming every now and then. Tamil Nadu, a southern state also boasts numerous political parties to form the state government. How do typography and state politics relate each other? The political parties of Tamil state has adapted a unique mode of visual branding – multicolor typography. The visual branding especially the typography is entirely based on the color scheme of the party flag, a symbol of patriotism, ideology, respect and high esteem. The multicolor typography has been an instrumental and influential tool in branding the party and simultaneously propagating its political agendas. The colorful type has productively established itself as an effective visual cue to directly communicate and connect to the people. The origin of such practice is unknown but its presence over several decades has made it an integral part of the native’s visual culture. Over the years, every new political party has adapted the same visual practice for their propaganda. Nearly three fourth of the state’s population has grown up observing and absorbing these visual publicities everywhere and everyday. In semiotic terms, the multicolor typographic has become a symbolic sign. This paper attempts to understand the usage of multicolor typography that challenges the conventional typography principles and norms. It tries to briefly determine its evolution, practice, regional and cultural influences. The research also addresses questions as to how such traditional practice would evolve in the digital age where the standard typefaces are designed for single color.

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