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You are here: Home / Type & typography / A Typography for India

A Typography for India

Rathna Ramanathan ATypI 2016 • Warsaw, Poland Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw ASP

Many important classical texts in Indian literature have never reached a global audience; others are becoming unavailable even to Indian readers. The Murty Classical Library of India was established with the aim of making accessible modern translations of Indian texts in print and online. This paper sets out the framework created for the design of the printed book interiors, digital texts and Indic typography for jacket designs founded on primary research on the form of the book in India. This includes key subject areas: history of the book and printing in India; language and scripts of India; reading and reader interactions with texts, and bilingual translations employing multi-script typography. The typesetting and design of bilingual Indic texts of such range and complexity is unique in modern book design practice and poses challenges that are addressed through three lines of enquiry. First, to establish a systematic bilingual book design for English translations of texts in ten different Indian languages. Second, to accommodate different literary genres. Third, as Indian texts do not use italics or bold, it was imperative to establish an appropriate hierarchy and grammar. This paper builds on a previous presentation given at Granshan with additional primary research material.

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