Aurobind Patel writes for Platform Magazine's 10th anniversary edition on Itu and his relationship with graphic design. This piece was carried in the Sep/Oct 2015 issue.
Aurobind Patel is known for an expertise in graphic design. He has contributed as a Design Consultant for several leading newspapers like India Today, The Daily Telegraph and The Times. He has also served as the Design Director of The Economist.
Itu was predestined for a career in the creative arts, not least because of the genes he inherited. His parents are leading contributors to the art scene in India. His Bengali father Sankho, as a sculptor. His Parsi mother Ira, as a potter and ceramist.
This commingling of Bangali and Parsi genes has reproduced in Itu a keen ear for music (Hindustani, Jazz, Western Classical), an incisive mind, formidable aesthetic and literary awareness. Fortunately a flawed blend of irreverence and slight madness does muddy his mind and feet to keep him grounded.
Our paths crossed in the early-to-mid '80s in Delhi, when he began contributing illustrations and infographics to India Today, where I happened to work. Each of his contributions remain seminal for its artistic rendering as much, in retrospect, for the historic significance of the event it illustrated. The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, Operation Blue Star, the Indian Army raid on the Golden Temple in Amritsar; the first Indian in space, cosmonaut Rakesh Sharma on board Soyuz T-11; are the few that come to mind.
At the time, Itu, a trained architect, had leapt off architecture's third dimension to the flatter plane of two-dimensional graphic design. But his architectural training was apparent and clearly a contributing strength in his design work. And it remains so.
Across static surfaces, like pages in print, or on dynamic ones, like screens on computers and smart gadgets, Itu uses an instinctive grasp of letterforms and typography (bricks and mortar of graphic design) to construct excellent work clad in minimal but memorable detail. A treat for the eye and mind.