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  • Design Research for Change

Ramanathan, Rathna, 2019, Show, Exhibition or Event, Design Research for Change

Abstract or Description:

Many important classical texts in Indian literature have never reached a global audience; others are becoming unavailable even to Indian readers. This 100-year strategic design research project aims to create an accessible classical library to provide modern translations of important Indian texts available in print and online. Funded by a trust set up by the Indian industrialist Rohan Murty and overseen by Harvard University Press, the research sets out to create a framework for the design of the printed book interiors, digital texts and Indic typography for jacket designs.

The typesetting and design of bilingual Indic texts of such range and complexity is unprecedented in modern design practice and poses multiple challenges that were addressed through three lines of enquiry. First, to establish a systematic bilingual book design for English translations of texts in ten different Indian languages and scripts grouped into four categories: North Brahmic (Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali), South Brahmic (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada), Perso-Arabic (Urdu) and Prakrit (Pali). Second, to accommodate different genres in the template design: poetry, prose, drama etc. Third, to develop an Indic hierarchy and grammar through the application of appropriate typographic rules.

The design is based on historical research and the living traditions of the Indic book, including palm leaf and birch-bark manuscripts and early printed books. Following the intellectual mission of facing-page translations, the page spread is designed so text and translation reflect each other. The series design is based on the concept of “unity in diversity,” celebrating the individuality of each language while bringing them together within a single, cohesive visual design.

Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design > W211 Typography
Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design > W213 Visual Communication
School or Centre: School of Communication
Funders: Harvard University
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2019 21:17
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2019 21:17
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/4117

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