Type in Transit/Meet the Devanagari

It has been ages. Between traveling to Amritsar and Kutch, and Typography Day, Type in Transit has been all but forgotten. But not anymore. You have already met the Latin messages on the LED displays in the first two generations of coaches, now meet the Devanagari.


Spellings and Grammar
The Devanagari messages fail miserably when it come to spellings and grammar. The least that the commuters can expect is for those to be correct, but that is unfortunately not the case. One simple sentence, and there are mistakes in both – the ones in the second one much graver than the first.


Inconsistency is something one should come to expect – in this case, there is no letter from the former display that matches its counterpart in the latter one. This is how they match up when overlaid –

The newer coaches have the words better spaced out, and if it weren’t for the errors in the spellings and grammar, it would be the easier read of the two.


The first design has closed counters, where the second one has open counters for the same letters. The shapes of the counters are, however, inconsistent in both.


Position of the Nukta
In designs from both generation of coaches, the nukta under the ङ is placed very off-centre. It is so off-centre and close to the main body of the ङ in the first design, that it does not even look like a nukta, and the letter is hardly recognizable as a result. In the first design, the nukta is missing under the ज.


Odd Lettershapes
The letterforms have odd shapes in both designs – some letters look absolutely cramped, others are ready to topple over.


Different Matra Lengths
In the design from the second-generation coaches,  the okar and aikar matras are of different lengths.


Comments 6

  1. LIANG Hai March 24, 2011

    Really miserable… >_< Even spelling and grammar issues!
    Your images are as enjoyable as always.

    Ah, a typo:
    In the paragraphy of “Position of the Nukta”, you typed 2 “ङ”, which should be “ड” here.

  2. Pranab Salian April 17, 2011

    While attention to typographic detail has apparently improved at the manufacturer’s end, the weak link is still the individual entering the personalised messages – presumably a Metro employee?

    Interesting blog, I must say.

    • Pooja April 29, 2011

      Thanks Pranab! I’m looking for a way to find out who the manufacturers are, and who enters data into the displays. I’d love to hear any suggestions/leads, if you’d know 🙂

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