Type in Transit/Bangalore Edition

From the moment I saw LED displays on the buses in Bangalore, I wanted to do a small post on them here. But, thanks in part to my own laziness and to the haphazard traffic in Bangalore, I had all, but lost hope of getting any images. On my last evening there, I went to Church Street with @prtksxna and his friends to buy books at Blossoms; there I struck gold. We waited for over forty minutes to catch a bus on our way back home, and that gave me enough time to click some photographs!

With the very limited knowledge of Kannada I possess, and the limited number of photographs I clicked, all I can do is make some basic observations. It would be absolutely great if anyone of you, who is a fluent Kannada reader, can pitch in with more expert comments on the Kannada designs.

Different Latin Typefaces
In my foray, I found three different kinds of Latin typefaces – a heavy weight; a sort-of-condensed design; and finally, a design with two baselines, one each for uppercase and lowercase letters.


Different Kannada Typefaces
Similarly, I saw more than one kind of design for Kannada too. The first one is monolinear, with a smaller height for the characters. The second design is not monolinear, instead the letters are heavier at the bottom. Also, owing to the taller height of the characters, it looks like there is absolutely no space to put any matras below them.


I ran into four versions of the numeral three and like the three versions of the uppercase G, they all have different designs  –

Even the same bus number showed up looking different on different buses, and sometimes even on the very same bus depending on whether the ticking message was in Kannada or in Latin. Here’s a few examples –

Comments 5

  1. Eshan July 10, 2011

    So I just finished reading Indian Clerk. At the end of the book there was ” A note on type” which read as “The text of the book is set in Linotype Sabon named after the type founder Jacques Sabon. It was designed by Jan Tschichold and jointly developed by Linotype, Monotype, and Stempel, in response to a need for a typeface to be available in identical form for mechanical hot metal composition and hand composition using foundry type. Tschichold based his design for Sabon roman on a font engraved by Garamond and Sabon italic on a font by Granjon. It was first used in 1966 and has proved an enduring classic.”


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