Letters Unleashed - Embracing India's Rich Heritage One Letter at a Time

Letters Unleashed - Embracing India's Rich Heritage One Letter at a Time

Kimya Gandhi's Journey of Revolutionising Indian Typography

Step into the extraordinary tale of this typography artist Kimya Gandhi, where scalpels were exchanged for scribbles, and the rhythm of typography's inked verses serenade the world in a symphony of culture, heritage and innovation.

Interchange Devanagari |
Interchange Devanagari |Supporting Latin & Devanagari scripts, Interchange Display is a funky sans serif full of character

From Scalpels to Scribbles

In the heart of a bustling suburban neighbourhood in Mumbai, where dreams often danced between traditional paths and modern ambitions, a young artist’s story began to unfold. This was no ordinary tale, for it meandered through unexpected twists and turns, defying the expectations of a modest Marathi household that envisioned a future in medicine. Little did they know that destiny had artfully sketched a different path, leading Kimya Gandhi into the world of creativity - one defined by the graceful dance of letters and the enchanting art of typography. 

Fit Devanagari |
Fit Devanagari |White shapes anchor Fit, maintaining consistent spaces within and around letters
Interchange Devanagari |
Interchange Devanagari |Ranging from a ridiculously thin Hairline to Black, the weights are multiplexed (all have the same widths) making them awesome for dynamic typesetting

Embracing the Unknown

A transformative internship at Linotype in Germany became Kimya's first real step into the world of type. With limited opportunities in type design back in India, embarking on this journey in Europe was a bold choice. Yet, driven by her adventurous spirit and unwavering curiosity, she took the plunge, knowing that exploring her passion for designing letters was worth every uncertainty

Interchange Devanagari |
Interchange Devanagari |The thin styles of Interchange are delicate yet striking, envisioned to be used at large sizes for billboards to creating interesting social media content
Fit Devanagari Long |
Fit Devanagari Long |Ranging from a ridiculously thin Hairline to Black, the weights are multiplexed making them awesome for dynamic typesetting

In hindsight, it was a risk that paid off in spades. The experience not only deepened her love for the craft, the encouragement from Linotype, offering to release her typeface, bolstered her confidence, reinforcing that she was on the right path.

Interchange Devanagari Display and Text
Interchange Devanagari Display and Text
Fit Devanagari |
Fit Devanagari |Shivani Parsanis’ artwork for Fit Devanagari reimagines scenarios for the font, blending classical Marathi music and cookbooks, capturing their shared passion in vibrant visuals

A Decade of Gratitude

Reflecting on the past 10 years of her professional journey in type design, she is filled with gratitude for the people who have shaped her path along the way. From buying her first MacBook on a student loan to seeing her typeface Maku licensed for the Apple fonts library, each milestone has held special significance. The joy of her creation finding its place on the very computer she once couldn’t afford remains a cherished memory.

Fit DevanagariG |
Fit DevanagariG |The 10 widths of Fit Devanagari expand and compress by an average of 3600% to make use of every bit of space possible
Favorit Devanagari |
Favorit Devanagari |A companion to the Favorit typeface by ABC Dinamo type foundry. This image showcases alternate character styles that are available as options for greater typographic flexibility

Embracing the Evolution

Today, as the co-founder of Mota Italic, Kimya Gandhi delves deep into retail and custom font design for Devanagari and Latin scripts. She sees Devanagari typography at an exciting, transformative phase, benefiting from software advancements that remove past constraints. Emphasising modernisation, adaptability, accessibility, and cultural relevance, she envisions a dynamic landscape catering to new media’s demands.

Everpress x Kimya - Fit Devanagari |
Everpress x Kimya - Fit Devanagari |This artwork was created for an Everpress t-shirt campaign on the occasion of Clean Air Day
Fit Devanagari |
Fit Devanagari |Strikingly graphic but at the same time, radically simple. It’s a display font, but it has no ornamentation whatsoever

Celebrating India's Typographic Heritage

She aims to revolutionise India’s type design education and embrace vernacular typography, bridging tradition and contemporary practice. Advocating a functional, contextual approach, she addresses India’s challenges with culturally relevant solutions, encouraging young designers to shape the visual landscape.

Interchange DV Bold |
Interchange DV Bold |The Bold styles of Interchange Display are created to be used at large sizes for impact yet style

Integrating Indian scripts into syllabi, she celebrates the cultural richness, empowering designers to create meaningful experiences reflecting India’s heritage. She feels these languages and scripts carry with them an immense store of culture, which needs to be celebrated!

Inspired by her mentor, Prof. Kirti Trivedi, Kimya embraces a unique teaching approach—creating an open, communicative space that challenges conventional norms. Engaging with students keeps her updated on contemporary trends, while sharing knowledge nurtures her passion for design, fostering a rich exchange of ideas that fuels her creative journey.

Web Khvabida |
Web Khvabida |Along with creating typefaces, Kimya also creates products, this artwork was created to be used on a tote bag, available from the Mota Italic website

Preserving Legacies and Pioneering Innovation

Every typeface Kimya creates is a learning experience, but some have left a profound impact. Digitising the handwriting of renowned writer Pu.La. Deshpande holds a special place in her heart, honouring her mother’s ardent fandom of his work. Recently, her work on the Devanagari companion to David Jonathan Ross’ Fit Devanagari offered a delightful opportunity to explore the script in unique ways. Combining inspiration from historical manuscripts with a modern and funky approach, the project allowed her to merge tradition and innovation.

Nukta - Untitled WIP Typeface |
Nukta - Untitled WIP Typeface |This is a glimpse of a WIP typeface that will have an optical size axis

Fueling Originality: Vision for Devanagari Typography

She prides herself on not being swayed by trends and seeks to break away from the minimalist branding style prevalent globally. She envisions the future of Devanagari typography charting its trajectory, not merely following behind Latin. As a designer in India, she believes in forging a distinct voice that celebrates the country’s rich cultural diversity. By crafting typefaces that embody India’s unique essence, Kimya seeks to contribute to a design landscape that stands out for its originality and cultural representation.

Creative Gaga