Monday, November 3, 2008

Breaking the Indian stereotype

Anyone who's been remotely associated with advertising in Chennai will recognize the name Shakti Lasers. They are typesetters who swing into action anytime, there's a request for a vernacular ad, in any agency. Their ace is a catalogue of some 200 odd fonts in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi and Urdu. I've not seen any significant addition to this catalogue, for years. That, my friend, is the sad story of Indian typefaces.

Despite having a thousand art directors, we are stuck with the same old fonts. Shame on us. Can't our art schools do something about it? Should we wait for Microsoft and Google to create machine-made indic fonts?

I think the key reason why no one's really bothered to create vernacular fonts is no one knows how to convert their typefaces into machine fonts. Thankfully this can no longer be proffered as an excuse. Fontifier has solved all these problems. This site lets you convert your handwriting into a font!

If the 15 art directors in Orchard (ok, I made up the number), can use this software to create even 100 vernacular fonts, we would be starting a new movement Think about it: we'd be motivating hundreds of other art directors to create funky fonts. Who knows we may even spawn a desi dafont. But are we up to it? Do we really want to put Shakti Lasers out of business?

PS: I announce a reward of 1000 rupees each for the first five vernacular fonts created and uploaded on this blog. Let's see who pockets my largesse (or should that be smallesse?).

Posted by Anantha

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