You see it everywhere, absolutely everywhere: rough-and-ready brush lettering or something like it. It’s proudly imperfect and knowingly naive. It’s bold and inkily raw; its voice can be raucous and assertive or tremulous and quivering. It’s on posters, packaging, banners and trademarks of food brands and political movements; on literary book covers, at conferences, and perhaps most of all as messages on social media.
First, the news. At a recent WPP conference, sponsor Rajasthan Patrika (the group that owns the popular daily of the same name) challenged participants to make ‘Hindi cool’. Storyboard editor Anant Rangaswami judged their efforts, not favourably; but his insightful piece argues that we should invert cause and effect. If Hindi newspapers invested in design, he says, Hindi would look cooler; and Hindi publications would get the increased advertising rates commensurate with their robust readership growth, while their English confrères continue to increase their ad rates despite feeble, none or negative growth.