A direction for the modulated Devanagari

After making at least a couple of false starts, at the end of January I found the direction for my Devanagari design. That was a good time to find it too, because I was feeling like I was going nowhere with the Latin. Unfortunately, that feeling persisted longer than I would have liked, but on the bright side, progress on the (modulated) Devanagari was both swift and satisfying. Here is what the latest version of the design looks like:

Barring a couple of consonants that I forgot to draw, the remaining basic character set (independent vowels, consonants, dependent vowel signs, a few half forms and common conjuncts) are working decently well. There are a few that, as Fiona pointed out in her feedback today, not as strong as others on the page, and I plan to revisit them after I draw the conjuncts. After Miguel Sousa’s AFDKO workshop a couple of weeks ago, I also wrote some simple OpenType features to see how they will work. There is much to figure out there (for instance, what might be better to use—VOLT or AFDKO), but it made me very happy to see even the small things work in the preview window.

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Despite having written and read Devanagari for so many years, there were some notions of proportions that simply did not come naturally to me. How does one reconcile with the large counters of  and  in a way that they do not create gaping holes in the texture? What are the suitable widths for letters such as  and Other shapes like र and स took quite a while to resolve. The first version I drew (and felt quite attached to) disrupted the texture of the page by having the opposite weight distribution of letters like ल and त, and the second one was too curved and drew attention to itself unnecessarily. The final and third iteration that I made recently fits the overall design much, much better.

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The next step is to draw conjuncts, and ligatures for half-form and consonant combinations. But to do that, I need to decide which ones. I am going to start with some of the most commonly occurring ones, and then think about what texts I want to set in my specimen and draw any that will turn up there. That of course, requires me to decide what I want in my specimen, and deciding that feels like a more difficult task than drawing the conjuncts themselves. So instead, I am distracting myself with drawing a heavier weight.
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Hopefully, not only will the Easter break see a lot of progress for both weights, but also more blog posts than what I have managed this term. For now, we’re off to Belgium and Netherlands in three days, and I couldn’t be more excited (or relieved to be taking a break)!
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Comments 2

  1. Peter Bilak March 16, 2012

    design looks promising, but there is not enough contrast between the masters – the regular could be thinner, the bold heavier. it is a good practice to draw masters as extreme as you can – you will always be able to step back and normalise them (by interpolation), but going the other way is not easy. your design should explore also relationship between styles, not just letters. draw both masters at the same time.

  2. Sarang Kulkarni March 17, 2012

    Hey Pooja, Its a good start. I think, you need to practive basic Devanagari structure more. पहिले अक्षरोंको कस लो, फिर सही आवाज़ आयागी।

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