“What intrigued me about type design is that is is purely a form-based exercise,” Satya Rajpurohit said in his Creative Characters interview. “What I like most about it is that whatever I’m doing is going to last for a long time. It’s like building a highly specialized tool – unlike other graphic design projects, which have a shorter lifespan.”
Satya runs Indian Type Foundry from Ahmedabad, located in India’s westernmost state of Gujarat. According to a recent survey, people in India currently speak about 780 languages written in 11 different scripts. “This is where my idea for the Kohinoor family came from: to design a superfamily that supports all the languages of India while keeping the visual aesthetic of all scripts similar across the entire suite of typefaces,” he said. “This would allow for all the languages in India to be typeset in a coherent and consistent visual system. It was and still is a very unusual idea in India: it is rare to find fonts that offer various scripts within the same family.”
The designer started his type career with an internship at Linotype and during his time with the company, he got the chance to work on the Frutiger type family. “At the time type design was hardly considered a real profession in India, so I had never considered that a serious option. But the internship at Linotype first brought out my profound interest and passion about type. Since then, I have never looked back.”
The first typefaces that his foundry released were more neutral, text-friendly fonts such as Kohinoor and ITF Devanagari. “We did not start looking at display fonts until much later — we’re slowly starting to build a collection of them now,” he said. And, as his foundry has grown to a staff of 13 people, they have begun to expand their design pallette. With recent releases like Pancho and Quantum Latin, the foundry has begun to work with more striking and unusual shapes than seen in their earlier faces.
“Design in India is in continuous development, and a unique Indian identity is slowly being crafted thanks to an overall improvement of design education and an increase of independent studios,” Satya said. “I think that for the Latin script, the OpenType features are more of a luxury — but for the Indian languages it’s necessity. OpenType has finally made it possible to translate all the details and nuances of the Indian scripts to the digital medium. All the scripts heavily depend on complex conjuncts and ligature systems. Thanks to these features it is possible to typeset Devanagari or other scripts the way they should be written.”