The 36 Days Of Type, By Artists From India, Is Something You Need To See Right Now
The 36 Days of Type, challenges creativity and is a platform to push that to its full potential. The project started when Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea, graphic designers based in Barcelona, decided to challenge themselves to design something new every day. This was their way to experiment with new things while facing their routines by setting personal daily design challenges. The contest soon became a worldwide phenomenon. So, how can this not affect India? Many artists for India participated in the project this year, and the result is fabulous.
A: Ankita Shinde
The theme for Shinde’s #36daysoftype04 was called Journaling. “I have been journaling sporadically since I was 10. But the graph kept increasing while I was nearing my twenties. Often I find all the answers to my questions and all the questions to my answers in my journey of diving within. My last art series ‘You Are The Universe’ (a part of my #Inktober2016 series), was about the same topic, but on a more philosophical plane,” she illustrates. Shinde believes that people are whole and complete in themselves. We are the universe. We are everything and we are nothing. The way we perceive our existence in this world is directly related to the kind of relationship we have with our own self.
A, in this case, stands for articulation. “I’m an obsessive thinker. Before articulating my thoughts religiously in my journals, I found it difficult to deal with my chattering mind. My speech was unusually fast. Often, I didn’t know how I was feeling, what I was thinking or what I wanted. Just the simple act of jotting down all my thoughts without judging them freed my mind tremendously! It was in this process of learning the art of articulating my thoughts, made me more empathetic towards myself and others around me.”
B: Vaishnavi VS
The 36 Days of Type for Vaishnavi was a goal, it was more than a challenge which she wanted to achieve for herself. She wanted to prove herself that even though she works on computers for a living, she has not forgotten the primitive ways of sketching. Further, the theme for her 2017 challenge was based on War and Peace.
“I included the main elements which would describe war and peace through weapons and birds. Also, I followed the Indian design and patterns, because I wanted to develop myself more on intricate designs, which is one of my core skills and styles too,” she states. “The designs were created in a sketchbook made of handmade paper and the materials I used were mainly Micron pens.” she adds.
C: Ameya Narvankar
“For the fourth edition of 36 Days of Type, I weaved a narrative alongside the creation of letterforms, the result of which is Lost at C. It is a micro tale of maritime adventure and type, starring a headstrong Franny and other denizens of the big blue sea,” claims Narvankar. “C stands for the captain of my own ship,” he tells.
D: Hiral Patel
Mumbai-based freelance graphic designer Hiral Patel believes that ‘crafting your heart out makes room for your soul, and that creativity is contagious, and one must pass it on.’ “I love to paint pretty things and fallen flowers. What can I say, arts and crafts keep me sane,” enthuses Patel.
“For this year’s challenge, I created some motif embellished alphabets then got them laser cut on MDF. And hand painted them to achieve the closest possible effect to that of the real craft or textile, styled my visuals as per each craft,” she tells us. Adding, “Dabu or daboo is an ancient mud resist hand block printing technique from Rajasthan. Unlike hand block printing, people are rarely aware of this style of printing. The craft is indigenous to the state of Rajasthan. The motifs are picked from nature and surrounding elements.”
E: Sandhya Iyer
“Let’s just discover the land of nowhere; by exploding the rhythm of colours all over,” Iyer adds a philosophical twist.
F: Shivani Parasnis
After a minimalistic approach to letters in the last edition of the 36 Days of Type, for 2017, Parasnis decided to challenge herself to design something outside her comfort zone. That mainly included isometric drawings and graphics. “The main inspiration for this series was the Lego and I named this series ‘Life in Lego City’. I designed each building as an individual construction in an imaginary world of the Lego and unleashed my imagination to think of architectural buildings that had rooftop ranches and candy cane towers! Through the series, I designed several types of buildings, right from Mughal palaces to modern-day space stations,” she quips. The letter F shows Lego City’s very own Donut Factory.
G: Amirkhan Pathan
“This is my first time participating in the challenge and I explored typeface on fishes,” explains Pathan. ‘Typefish’ is an experimental typeface created using different types of fish’s starting from A to Z. “Every fish has its own beauty and texture. I wanted to explore and study their shapes, colours, and textures for my upcoming project which has fish as an important character. That’s why I chose them as my subject. I have studied many types of fishes before starting with the typeface design but could post only a few. Hopefully, I can digitalise all of them and upload them soon. 36 Days of Type is a good project that improves your ideation process towards any theme,” adds Pathan.
H: Karthick Rajendran
“I think it’s pretty straightforward really; H is for Hellfire because, ‘All hail Satan’,” laughs Rajendran.” Adding, “Seriously though, this time around I tried to keep it rooted to motion graphics. It is a vast subject and I have always wanted to explore its magical world. In the process, I did pick up quite a bit of After Effects and hope to learn more.”
I: Saakshi Vyas
Vyas, on the other hand, decided to illustrate all things desi. “I think it was a lot of fun to come up with Hindi words equivalent to English syllables. It was a great exercise to maintain the quirkiness and the subtleness of the letter forms at the same time,” she ends.
J: Yash Pradhan
“Since this was my first time participating in the annual project, I didn’t really have a theme, to begin with. I started off with photo-manipulation within the type and type related animals, after few letters, I went with slightly glitched vector styles,” exits Pradhan.
K: Sonal Singh
“The underlying theme for my series was “Eat your type.” Each letter is composed using food items that start with the respective letter,” Singh clarifies. The unit for K is composed of kiwis, kaffir lime leaves, kale and kidney beans,” she points out.
Within this type series, she is exploring different illustration styles in sets of 6. So, each set of 6 characters is in a particular style, and they follow a fixed colour palette. “I started with vector-style food items and then moved to hand-drawn units, and then to a mix of fruit compositions within the letters,” enthuses Singh. This series is an improvement exercise in making a set of illustrations which look diverse, but still are part of the same family.
L: Nikita Marina Braggs
“My series for the 36 Days of Type challenge was called ’36 Ways In 36 Days.’ The theme was in relation to how some of us find it difficult to convince our parents to let us go on a trip, either solo or in a group. In my series, each letter represents a word that was a method/ trick to get that yes from the parents in a fun and humorous way. I chose this theme, as my friends and I could relate it. And some of the tricks did work for me as well,” enthuses Braggs.
M: Cherubina S
“My central idea for this edition of the 36 Days of Type was to experiment with Isometry. I didn’t pick a theme rather tried to keep the same style throughout the series and picked a word which started with that particular letter. This helped me channel my thought process in that direction. I also used a lot of bright vibrant colours and forms. For the alphabet M, for instance, I depicted the moon,” she states.
N: Ananth Pai
“The letter N was an ode to typefaces that have a large range of weights. I chose one of my favourite typefaces, Work Sans, which comes with nine of them. I feel its beauty comes out by merely creating a repeating pattern with the uppercase N. Moreover, this is one solution to the classic problem of creating a typographic composition where the form, and not the content, is brought into focus. The weights gradually increase in their intensity, creating a pleasing rhythm, and highlighting the meticulousness and care with which multi-weight typefaces are created,” Pai describes.
O: Abhilash K and Vibin K Venugopal
When the #36daysoftype exploded on Instagram, artists’ Vibin and Abhilash were just waiting and watching. It was also for the fact that they were pressed with work overloaded. “The heart said go, but the mind started contradicting. We were spectators until everyone reached the letter G. Then one-day Dhvani (my colleague) said ‘Let’s do it’. Then we brainstormed and we decided to find type around us… give it that headless hippie—colourful and vibrant kinda vibe, you know?” states Venugopal with a glare on his face.
They started looking for type in everything lying around in the office, home and anywhere else they went. O was one such letter. “My niece (at home) was playing with rubber tubes (which you pile up one on top of the other) as I was getting ready to go to work. As I passed her by, I discovered ‘O’ my God. And it continued. Everyone started bringing something or the other to the table,” recalls Venugopal. Similarly, H was an idea that came up when the duo was in their meeting room. They looked at the window and discovered H in the window bars. “It was a fun project and it was amazing to see how shapes and forms around you start speaking. It is one thing that we keep telling everyone that ideas are all around us; just keep your eyes, ears, and heart open. I remember a mentor of mine once said “Observe, recall, relate, reinvent—now it make perfect sense,” ends Venugopal.
P: Nikhil Biniwale
“I had decided to make this one more interesting (than the last one), but feasible nonetheless,” Biniwale explains,” Adding, “Churning out letters every day and having a strong sense of logic behind it is a challenge in itself and can be fun at the same time. As the dates came closer, my mind started playing tricks and I got confused on how to take this year’s challenge. It was when the idea of Phobias struck me.”
“Our mind is a huge console of different emotions. Each emotion is associated with a certain attribute. Similarly, fears have their triggers as well. They can vary from being unnoticeable to being largely dramatic and publicly observable. After sufficient amount of research, I prepared a list where I could make posts based on phobias in their alphabetical succession. Each phobia was chosen in terms of its uniqueness, the creative potential it held as well as the amount of fun I had in creating the posts.” The letterform used is custom-made, and was crafted especially for the image to be incorporated in it,” he exeunts.
Q: Swati Khaitan
“This year was more about making something spontaneous each day for the project. Taking a day at a time, I illustrated each letterform as something that conveyed to me—an object, a character, or a feeling. For instance, Q stands for Queen of Hearts from the film Alice in Wonderland—A simple, minimalistic, iconic character. It was yet again a great deal of fun contributing alongside many other great designers around the world, discovering and learning from them,” Khaitan enthuses.
R: Pranita Kocharekar
This Bombay-based illustrator picked the letter R from her #AtoZofSelfCare series.
“Most of my personal work reflects thoughts or feelings that I want to journal—but instead of doing it in a book, I create a project! Most of us hustle through the week and are constantly mentally busy even during after-work hours. This is harmful in a lot of ways, can bog you down and worst of all it is counterproductive,” she tells us.
This series is a reminder medium to herself, and everyone who follows her on Instagram.
“The letter R is my favourite because I love reading books in my free time (she takes out at least one hour every day to read a book!) which is extremely relaxing, forces me to stop thinking about work and helps me unwind.
This series received a fabulous feedback, so she created stickers at throwaway prices for those who would want the alphabets as reminders in their day-to-day lives.
The stickers are up for grabs in her online shop here if you want them.
S: Vidya Kamalesh
Kamalesh’s earliest association with the form of the alphabet S as a toddler was with that of a snake, taking its meandering slithery course. Growing up, she noticed its varied forms appearing around her on a daily basis. In popular brands like Sunfeast to Sprite to Starbucks—for her these forms illustrated ‘the combination of a conventional quick recognition of the alphabet, as well as a lateral visualisation of the same, designed such that it would better suit the brand personality’.
“It was during the introduction to typography in my bachelor’s degree that I delved into its history and origins. The fact that the early Egyptians denoted the sound of a sword being drawn as ‘S’ in their hieroglyphs, far from the snake reference I had in mind, was really fascinating,” remembers Kamalesh. “Metamorphosing its form from then onwards under Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans before arriving at the present day S, the awareness of considering various weights, styles, kerning, or hierarchy reflected by size or colour gives this typeface a multitude of variations from its characteristic form with twists and turns.”
T: Tara Maria
The alphabet she picked was T, for Telescope. With the 36 Days of Type this year, she decided to use objects or ideas from her childhood to create illustrations. “Everything from Egyptian goddesses to animals to food has inspired me and I feel like I’ve paid tribute to them through these 36 days,” points out Maria.
U: Aditi Dash
This year’s edition was all about exploring interesting graphic styles for Dash. “I tried to experiment with juxtaposing patterns together to form interesting 3D visuals in a 2D format. As always, I love playing around with colour, so I incorporated that into the typeset as well. Visualising each letter in a deconstructed geometric language, it was fun to understand how to fit different shapes and patterns together to present a dynamic arrangement of visual elements,” clarifies Dash.
V: Sreemoyee Roychoudhury
“The entire series was based on medical terms and conditions. I am prone to falling sick and decided to use this challenge to help cope with all the medical issues that I have to deal with every day. The illustrations are not serious in any way, but fun, quirky and light,” Roychoudhury tells smiling.
W: Saumya Shukla
“I tend to take great comfort in planned works of art and following a theme while building a series. However, taking a different turn this time, my project is more of an exploratory journey through the letter forms. Instead of sticking to and working around a theme or a particular style, I played with certain principles of design and let the mood build the form,” Shukla explains. Further, “I took each letter as it came to maintain the spontaneity. Most of the letters have been worked on digitally while for some, I’ve used traditional media and digital tweaking.”
She chose the alphabet W, as she feels it resonated well with all the others in the series. “It’s minimalistic and fuses the presence and absence of colour, thus pushing the concept of duality. It turned out to be another ‘Happy Accident’ in this series of happy accidents.”
X: Arushi Kathuria
Kathuria decided to illustrate fashion brands this year just to keep it consistent. “It was quite challenging at one point to find designers and to integrate it with the corresponding letter/number,” she highlights.
Y: Sulabha Dubhashi
Last year, Dubhashi experimented with illustrative type, this year she wanted to explore simple shapes, lines, dots and try basic effects that create an impact. Further, she ensured that she completed the challenge this time, and the hard work paid off… her work got featured on the official handle! “Amongst the 36 types, my personal favourite is Y. I feel it’s simple, but not plain and boring, that’s exactly what I wanted to achieve in this time. This series taught me that sometimes it’s best to keep things simple,” Dubhashi adds.
Z: Shakthi Hari
Hari was fascinated and curious about the 36 Days of Type when he saw it last year on Instagram. So he decided to give it a shot this year. “Though I had to go through a hectic college schedule, it surely did pay off at last because I had wonderful chances to experiment with new techniques every day. I didn’t choose a particular theme or a style this year since I wanted to try illustrating in many styles. And my favourite among the works are the number series and the line art style letters,” he opens up.
0: Tanvi Chunekar
The theme for Chunekar’s 2017 series was to illustrate microcosms or ‘little worlds’ within the letter. She based the illustrations on some of her favourite words, some unprocessed thoughts or just how she felt that day, she recalls.
1: Prateek Vatash
“For this edition, I explored two sets, with two distinct visual styles, which in total resulted in 72 letters. For that I created two letters each day, which was insane, but it somehow worked out,” indicates Vatash laughing.
2: Prathamesh Shah
Dubbed the MechanixType, Shah initially did not have any theme or style in mind for this year’s 36 Days of Type. While fiddling around with a Mechanix set he tried making a few characters with it. Realising this was doable he ran off to the store to get colored paper for the backgrounds. Day by day one character led to another, and he had a series spring out of nowhere. “The set has limited number of pieces for each shape size and a limited colour palette. So I made a base stand, which acts as a unit measure check for each character and also a banner to display take the photo on. I also took standalone shots with just the background to get a clean look at them. Getting the colour and lighting right was a challenge for each shoot and I had to do the photo shoot within a given time period during the day so I got the most light. Post processing included choosing the best ones, colour correction and cropping them to 1280px,” Shah reminisces.
3: Deepti Pai
“Due to software and technology, we have lost touch with pen and paper. I wanted to sketch each city daily so that I could practice sketching as well as convert it into an illustration,” Pai attributes.
Pai worked on India as my common theme, but for alphabets, her theme was titled the ‘Sheher Series’, hand drawn and illustrated cities. “Everyone knows about the big Indian cities, but people are hardly aware of the smaller cities or towns with magnificent monuments or magical sceneries. I wanted to explore, wander and take others on a virtual travel tour each day with a letter,” states the Mangalore-based illustrator.
Further, for the numbers, she chose ‘A Mithai a Day’—series of 10 illustrated Indian sweets for the love of desi and syrup—dripping varieties, delicacies of the Indian subcontinent.
4: Anupreeta Agate
Agate was always enthusiastic about paper craft, and she has been practicing it since she was a little girl. “Paper really fascinates me because of how a flat sheet can transform into almost anything depending on the technique applied,” she reflects.
The recent edition of the 36 Days of Type was an opportunity for her to explore paper through the art of paper cutting and in the process, developing a style of her own. “Since it was my first time working on paper cutting, the whole series was a real learning curve; I gradually gained confidence and tried to add layers of complexity to each letter. I kept the themes behind my letters and numbers flexible too. Most of them revolved around places and things I’ve experienced or gives me joy,” Agate highlights.
5: Kalyani Tupkary
Tupkary had been toying with the idea of taking part in this year’s 36 days of type! The project started and she continued to wonder until her laptop broke down! That is when she found herself utterly clueless without her machine. It was a rude wake-up call for her to go back to the basics and have a little fun. “I raided my mom’s sewing supplies, pulled out a bundle of scrap cloth pieces and decided to make the letters using a completely analogue medium, learning a new skill in the process,” she remembers.
“The exercise involved looking at the letter in its chosen typeface, and drawing the same on paper until I got the proportions right (or close enough). I would then draw the letterform on cloth with soft, light strikes using a glass pencil. The initial few letters were sacrificed as I learned the basic stitches, chain, stem and running. The more complex stitches like the Hungarian braid, herringbone, and double chevron stitch came in later. The seemingly simple cross stitch without a supporting grid turned out to be challenging and demanded a lot of patience,” Tupkary tells us. She tried combining a range of colours, sometimes similar or contrasting, to create a gradient effect using satin and chain stitch. “The trick here was to mix the two threads that you wish to blend.”
“At various points during the project, I ended up using the wrong cloth, unfit for embroidery, or a thread was too thick or too thin. Soon the lessons were learned, and I could gauge the strength of the cloth, figure out the right thread and the right stitch for the particular letter. The stitches became finer, doing some justice to the curves of the letterform. A number of times a cloth with an interesting pattern would spark an idea. For example, In this particular piece of number 5, the floral prints gave me the idea of using 5 colours to blend yellow, orange and pink until the letter gets camouflaged with the cloth. I enjoyed this slow, analogue process of making letters,” she elucidates with a smile.
6: Annada Menon
Menon’s work commonly showcases surreal compositions of nature and humans. For instance, the number 6 she designed depicts mother nature cradling a human child.
“The tree seen on the upper half of the number symbolises shelter,” Menon starts off. “I enjoyed worked working in the lower half of the design. The number’s natural curves form the arms of the mother. The circular gap created a dark cavern or womb-like shape to place the baby. The color palette used is minimal, consisting of greys. Pastel shades have been used as flat background for all the numbers.” illustrates Menon.
7: Yatish Asthana
“36 Days Of Type” was a personal challenge for me this year, considering I started last year and left it in between. I was out of ideas and couldn’t keep up. This time, I wanted to complete the challenge despite my busy schedule and illustrate one alphabet every day, without fail,” Asthana starts off.
He chose “Machines & Tech” as his theme this year. “Machines are vast and there is a lot to know and understand about them. It started with a basic sketch and suddenly I realised this one would be really fun.” The end result is a collection of mechanical, technological, scientific, logical and illogical alphabets. “If it wasn’t for the 36 Days of Type, I would have never discovered this side of me that loves machines and sci-fi stuff,” he concludes.
8: Soniya Bhase
This time around Bhase’s theme revolved around geometry and the interactive transparency between this geometry to create a story. However, as the series progressed, it shaped into something else. “I felt restricted by the idea of a letter that had to match that style since I actually wanted to experiment with each letter and see what it expressed. Thus, my theme didn’t follow a discipline of sorts, but at the same time ended up having a hint of geometry combined with shape-shifting elements that almost had a life like quality. The number 8 is a striking result of the same,” enthuses Bhase.
9: Arushi Kulkarni
“The concept behind my series this year was to create a simple yet playful opinion of different numbers and characters in the alphabet. Each form is constructed using rather basic lines and shapes. But, even in their simplicity, the characters are never flat. Each has an element of depth, a chunky outline, and a vibrant (might I add, ‘happy’) 5-colour scheme! I picked this style for my series to pay homage to each character, with its natural form being the hero,” voices Kulkarni.
What do you think of these artists and their works of art? Let us know in the comments below.