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You are here: Home / Conferences / Antwerp 2018 / Programme

Building a new typography

Tangible and intangible heritages of typographic practice in India
When Fri 14 Sep 1710
Where Arenberg Theater
What
Who Rathna Ramanathan
India’s textual and typographic heritage can be considered in four stages influenced by economic and political development: precolonial, colonial, postcolonial, and liberal. Essentially an oral and manuscript culture, it can be argued that Indian typographic and publishing practice has absorbed Western typographic norms to such an extent that vernacular ways of designing, publishing, distributing and receiving texts are often usurped by so-called 'global practice'. However, as noted by Fry (2017), there is much work to be done in 'how design is understood, transformed, and practiced in the Global South' and this requires a conscious and critical reflection of our heritage. Using India as a case study and typography as a lens, this paper asks what is a true typographic heritage in a postcolonial, liberal context? Using examples of historical approaches and practice in the design, production and distribution of texts in India, this paper evaluates particular intangible and tangible heritages, and sifts through inherited and local practices with the aim of drawing together a 'new typography' for India. Overall, it seeks to engage, explore, debate, elaborate, refine and extend a sense of typography and typographic practices for/by a ‘Modern India’.

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