Chittara: how a village floor decoration became a font!

The Typecraft Initiative is a self-initiated and self-funded project that aims to create — display typefaces from languishing crafts and tribal arts from each state of India. Each typeface is made from a craft or tribal art, which belongs to a specific region, material, process and context.

Launched in 2010, The Typecraft Initiative, develops a range of display typefaces based on the rich crafts and tribal arts of India. The primary goal of this foundry is to help provide artisans to sustain their livelihood through the creation and sale of the typefaces. The typefaces are meant to inspire, create awareness and generate further interest in the art, history, context, and life of the people and the communities we work with. The typefaces are not only an archive of the IPR of communities that are on the brink of merging with mainstream society, but they are meant to be a celebration of their rich artistic heritage that — through the creation of a digital typeface — has been converted to a contemporary medium. We hope designers, artists from across the globe would engage with and develop new forms of expressions through the medium of typography and graphic design that contribute to continue making this a living craft. Contributions can not only be made through the work created but also by the purchase of the typeface, which will enable us to in some small way, help sustain these crafts and tribal arts and the people who make them. We also plan to work on literacy drives with local NGOs through the typefaces we create.

Godna or tattoo is an ancient artform practiced by Gond tribe of Chattisgarh in Central India. Godna has many motifs, each having a specific significance — some are curative in nature, while others are applied according to rites of passage in a woman's life — such as puberty, marriage and childbirth. The tattoos are highly valued for their powers of healing and their ritualistic significance. However in modern times, fewer people are getting tattoos done, as they migrate to cities for jobs where tattoos are frowned upon. Tattoo artists are struggling to survive in this fast-changing world. This project is then meant as a way for craftspeople and tribal artists to think in new ways — in a world where they are no longer able to sustain themselves solely through traditional networks and systems. We engaged with three tribal women artists, Ram Keli, Sumitra and Sunita to help make the typeface. Funds from the sale of the typeface will go back to help these and other craft and tribal communities.

Your Purchase of the Typecraft fonts will enable us to work on more such project. Importantly, all money acquired from the sale of the typeface is used to fund future Typecraft projects and to help in artisan livelihood programs. Thank you for your support. To purchase a Typecraft fonts, visit: **THE TYPECRAFT INITIATIVE**

Drawing of Chittara Lettering | Radha Sullur | Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Type Design (concept, artisan co-ordination, vectorization) | Ishan Khosla | Partner, The Typecraft Initiative | Partner, Ishan Khosla Design LLP | New Delhi, India
Type Design & Development | Andreu Balius | Partner, The Typecraft Initiative | Owner, Type Republic | Barcelona, Spain

The Team  (contact details can be provided on request) Type Design (including concept, co-ordination, vectorization): Ishan Khosla Design, New Delhi, India Type Development: Andreu Balius, Barcelona, Spain This Typecraft is made out of Chittara (from the state of Karnataka) which uses clay paste to make geometric patterns on the floors and walls of the entrance of one's home. Chittara originated from ancient cave paintings and eventually found its way to the walls and floors of village homes. The Kannada word Chittara (which is related to chittra) means creating an image or drawing. Historically, the artform has been practiced by women of the Deevaru community in the Sagar district of Karnataka, where these images were painted on auspicious occasions on the interiors and exteriors of the home. These paintings are a part of the family and community rituals associated with daily life and festive seasons. This form is only done by the woman of the house to make the entrance auspicious and to welcome the gods. In this project we had to explain the rules of type design as well as how this specific artwork can be transformed into type. We intentionally let the artist, Radha Sullur, draw and paint all the letters herself. The last image depicts the vectorized version of this typeface. Vectorization allows users to change all sorts of attributes such as color, gradient, drop shadow and much more! We are seeking CSR funds to make this into a full-fledged typeface (.otf) anyone can type this using any keyboard enabled device. Project Initiated by Ishan Khosla Deisgn Drawing Chittara letter-forms: Radha Sullur, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India (contact details can be provided on request) Type Design (concept, artisan co-ordination, and vectorization): Ishan Khosla Design, New Delhi, India Type Development: Andreu Balius, Barcelona, Spain ***The Typecraft Initiative: Chittara, has been published in India Contemporary Design: Fashion | Graphics | Interiors, by Divia Patel (Victoria & Albert Museum) ***The Typecraft Initiative: Chittara selected for the Tokyo Type Director's Club Award 2015, it will be published in the Tokyo TDC Annual Awards Book *The Typecraft Initiative is a finalist in the 2013 Kyoorius Awards in the Design-Craft: Typography category.

The Typecraft Initiative has been covered in blogs, print and online magazines and newspapers such as: Creative Review | It's Nice That | Better Letters | Architectural Digest | Design Indaba | Verve | Mumbai Mirror | Hindustan Times | Houzz and more

Relevant Links
Center for Revival of Indigenous ArtBangalore