Font of Youth
Here are some of the street artists whose works HandpaintedType seeks to preserve: Bindra from Kota, Rajasthan, who moonlights as an engineer and can cut styrofoam in sixty different ways; Vaghela from Gujarat, who created a typeface using motifs of fish and bones; Charan from Old Delhi, inventor of the "Fruit Juice Style" typeface. High five!
Heaven & Helvetica
There are several projects dedicated to promoting street art and preserving India's fast-disappearing poster artists, but perhaps none as innovative as this one, through which Hanif Kureshi (no, not the author) art director at Delhi-based advertising agency Weiden + Kennedy, documents and digitizes the typefaces developed by street artists. These fonts are then put online with a short bio about the artist and can be downloaded for free or in some cases, for a fee of approximately Rs 2,750. Half of all proceeds go directly to the street artists, while the other half is used to fund the project. Some featured fonts are currently unavailable, but will be online shortly.
Fonts featured on HandpaintedType are gorgeous - complex, multi-coloured letters that, in one instance, are broken down into base, highlight, shadow, motif. We love sharp-ended letters by Dawa from Ladakh, which invoke the smell of Chinese food from our college canteen; lotus-limned Devanagari script by Kafeel; and Indrajeet's fat, lime green font. Though Hanif plans to add more regional fonts soon, most of those currently available are in English with some Urdu and Devanagari script thrown in for good measure.
The project also accepts contributions, so if you see a fetching font at a kinaara store or on a hoarding, get in touch with the painter (his/her name and number are usually painted in one corner of the board), ask them to paint out the alphabet and numbers from 0 to 9, and courier to Hanif, who will digitize and feature it online. You are reimbursed for expenses, and a new font is born. Write on target!
Getting there: Visit www.handpaintedtype.com, fonts start at Rs 0.
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