Type designer Anagha Narayanan won the SOTA Catalyst Award

The Hyderabad-based designer discusses crafting authentic typefaces and her love for Indian scripts

As a baby, Anagha Narayanan frequented her father’s offset printing press in Hyderabad, the place the place her love for varieties started. “I still remember the scent of ink, and the warmth of papers fresh out of the machine. It is one of my favourite childhood memories,” she recollects. And now, a few years later, the 23-year-old is over the moon after being chosen as winner of the SOTA Catalyst Award, issued by The Society of Typographic Aficionados to folks underneath 25 who’ve created authentic work in typography.

Anagha was solely in center college when she developed her first font. “I did not know anything about types or designs then. I was just having fun,” she says. Later, as an intern at the Black Foundry in Paris, she labored on a mission utilizing the Devanagari script. “My team loved it. As type design is a niche field, this appreciation gave me a huge boost of confidence to take it up as a career.”

Her most difficult work is known as ‘Ilai’, and it’s certainly one of the first variable Tamil typeface. “Though I grew up in Hyderabad, my roots are from Tamil Nadu. This inspired me to create Ilai. There are nine styles to Ilai, and I have designed them in a way to make it look like they are dancing when we move the page,” she explains. Anagha first attracts her designs on paper and later modifies them utilizing software program. “It can take years to complete a single typeface. For example, I started working on Ilai in December 2018, and I’m still working on improving it. It has really helped me improve my patience,” she provides.

Her favorite typeface designers are Hitesh Malaviya, Kelapi Gujjar, and Shiva Nallaperumal. “I’m lucky to be working with Hitesh and Kelapi at Universal Thirst Type Foundry, Bengaluru. They have done some amazing work on local fonts. I admire their style and creativity,” Anagha says, including that she hopes to concentrate on Indian scripts in the future. “The diverse culture of our country has gifted us with many languages and scripts. One can find a new one in every State and it is so fascinating. I cannot wait to work with all of them.”

Anagha got here to learn about this award whereas a scholar at DJ Academy of Design, Coimbatore. “Two of my seniors in college — Shiva and Ramakrishna Saiteja — have been awarded earlier. It inspired me to participate.” Anagha utilized along with her portfolio in April and she or he was knowledgeable about the award in May. “None knew except my parents till the official announcement last week,” she says. The award consists of prize cash of $2000. “The public ceremony will be conducted in 2021 in Philadelphia. This will be attended by type designers from around the world and it will be a great platform for me to understand them and their works better,” she says.

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