Indian Type Foundry (ITF) Launches

Joe Pemberton's picture

Peter Bilak, The Netherlands, and Satya Rajpurohit, India, have launched the Indian Type Foundry ( http://www.indiantypefoundry.com )to focus on Indic typefaces. Their inaugural font family extends Peter's classic sans typeface family Fedra to the Hindi alphabet.

From this mornings' press release:

The Indian Type Foundry (ITF) is the first company to develop and directly distribute digital fonts in India. ITF was initiated by Peter Biľak of Typotheque in partnership with SN Rajpurohit and Rajesh Kejriwal (Kyoorius Exchange). “Rajesh has been incredibly active in bringing the Indian design community together. He has created the first Indian design magazine and first Indian design conference, and been a catalyst behind many collaborative projects in India”, says Peter Biľak. “That’s why I was very pleased that Rajesh agreed to join us to create ITF. And I have worked with the very talented Satya Rajpurohit for the past two years on Fedra Hindi, our first typeface specifically designed for the Indian market.”

Comments

Spencer Cross's picture

The Indian Type Foundry (ITF) is the first company to develop and directly distribute digital fonts in India.

So up until now everything in Hindi was still being printed using lead or photo type?

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riccard0's picture

I would be curious to see some sample of mixed Fedra Sans and Fedra Hindi. If it makes sense at all, of course (in Japanese, for example, it’s relatively common mixing kanji and/or kana with latin script).

dan_reynolds's picture

Well, of course there are are fonts for the Devanagari script (in which the Hindi language—among others—is written). There are fonts for all of the common Indic scripts. There are also Indian type foundries running in India, too. I can think of at least two (C-DAC, which you might argue is more an institution than a foundry and Modular Infotech). I've had the privilege of being able to visit Modular Infotech and the company has something like 50 employees and a network of designers that they buy letter designs from. Of course, this company is not really known much outside of India. Maybe it is because they wrote all their own font design software, make their fonts with that, and primarily sell the fonts along with the necessary typesetting software to use them properly. This means that they run along a different track than most of us in the type and font business.

Most of the Indic fonts in use are not OpenType fonts, however. This has many reasons behind it. One of them is the reality of the software market at present…

The Indian Type Foundry's press release is definitely right about the lack of design software that supports the OpenType features necessary for Indic fonts. Adobe CS4 has a work-around to support them (finally!), and there are 3rd party plug-ins that one can buy. But this is not real support. Microsoft Word has real support for Indic script OT fonts, but that is not a design application.

By "first," I expect that they mean that they are the first type foundry in the way that we envision font makers in the west. This is a company of good designers who make good fonts, and market these good fonts to graphic designers, who will use them in their work. A lot of the traditional customers of Indic fonts have been software developers, publishers, and newspapers. Graphic Design seems to be becoming really huge in India, and this makes Indian graphic designers it quite a market to be addressed. In Indian design using English and the Latin script, many customers want the best and the most popular fonts, just like designers all over the world do. It is difficult for these designers to find fonts of the same quality for their own languages and scripts. I suspect that ITF wants to make this difficulty less difficult ;-)

Joe Pemberton's picture

Thanks for clarifying some of these details Dan.

Other Indian Type founrdries:
C-DAC
Modular Infotech

paul d hunt's picture

Digital type foundries that is, Joe. :^p

peter bilak's picture

Thanks Dan, that is right.

Of course digital Devanagari (and other Indic) fonts existed before, they are both made in the West and in India. There are some fantastic designs made. In both cases, they have been primarily made to support software, and in India, fonts were often application specific. By producing Unicode compliant fonts ITF hopes to make it less dependent on software & hardware, so documents can be as interchangeable as we are used to in the West.

There are also wider, educational, intentions of ITF, and right now we are preparing outlines for the next steps. We would certainly like to create a community that can also create lively discussions about Indian typography. Dan, I will write you directly about this soon.

rob keller's picture

Dan is absolutely correct. Nice summary also!

paul d hunt's picture

Peter, would you write me as well? I'm very interested in what you will be up to, especially in regards to Indian type development.
Perhaps then the claim should have been the first Indian type foundry that produces Unicode-compliant digital fonts for a retail market. That might have been the right set of qualifiers to distinguish this venture, no?

hrant's picture

Nice. Couldn't have happened to a nicer family.

> I would be curious to see some sample
> of mixed Fedra Sans and Fedra Hindi.

Indeed. That's the tricky pudding.

hhp

dan_reynolds's picture

Thanks, Peter. I'd love to discuss anything about all of this, offline or online.

Sindre's picture

Congratulations! Fedra Hindi looks very nice indeed.

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