India at 75: Country to soon get a ‘nationalistic’ Bharat font ‘rooted in Indian-ness’

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While there are many fonts that you may have worked with, they are mostly borrowed ones. But, it looks like India may soon have a ‘national font’. According to a press release, advertising group Rediffusion’s sister agency Everest has launched the ‘Bharat’ font to commemorate two special occasions: 75 years of India’s Independence and its own 75th anniversary.

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Per the release, a team of India’s top typographers at Everest and Rediffusion Design Studios has — over the last six months — been working on it. Led by Virendra Tivrekar, they have created a “commemorative font” that would “intrinsically and eternally be Indian”.

It is “rooted in Indian-ness,” the release reads, “visibly exuding Indian-ness” and projecting to the world its very essence. As mentioned earlier, it is called ‘Bharat’ and it was launched in Mumbai over the Independence Day weekend by Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra.

A team of five designers — Virendra Tivrekar, Ajit Rakhade, Rohan Parab, Arif Khan and Akash Sharma — researched, ideated, planned, executed and beautified the font. “We looked at all the letters of the alphabet in all the Indian languages to draw inspiration and figure out which of these we could adapt, reshape and redesign into a uniquely different font that would coalesce the goodness of India’s diversity into a visual unity,” Virender Tivrekar, the executive creative director at Rediffusion Studios was quoted as saying.

Dr Sandeep Goyal, the managing director of Rediffusion and Everest said the team set its heart on designing a “befitting tribute to India” that would have “utility and memorability”.

“Hence was born the idea of the ‘Bharat’ font that would epitomise the spirit of India. It was not till 2010 that India got itself a symbol for the rupee currency. So, having a font that is nationalistic and invokes pride by its usage is the driving force behind the creation of Bharat,” the release quoted him as saying.

Interestingly, Bharat has a strong phonetic underpin, too. Every letter of the alphabet is “rooted in the letter’s phonetic sound in the parent Indian language” — be it Odia, Tamil, Telugu, Devanagari, Gurmukhi, Kannada, etc.

For instance, the ‘Q’ is a combination of half a ‘ka’ and ‘va’ of Hindi, and rendered accordingly.

The ‘Bharat’ font has already been tested with consumer groups for readability; no reading or usage issues have been found. Initially, it will have to be downloaded from a digital link, but later, one will be able to use it on both computers and mobile phones.

Besides India, only one other country has a font of its own: Sweden. Its ‘Sweden Sans’ was created in 2014 by Stockholm agency Söderhavet — designed with a modern geometric typeface inspired by 1950s signs.

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