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The Sacred and Typography: Typoday 2023

Event Date: October 26 – 28, 2023

A group of 16 students, accompanied by two faculty members from the Institute of Design, Nirma University, took off to Banaras to attend the international event “Typoday 2023” from October 26-28, 2023. The theme for this year was “The Sacred and Typography”. This remarkable 3-day sojourn was a feast for the senses, offering a kaleidoscope of enriching experiences. The event was a seamless blend of insightful workshops, awe-inspiring talks by luminaries in typography, lively discussions and brain-teasing quizzes, enlightening student presentations, and captivating demonstrations set against Banaras’ hallowed locations.

The Typoday 2023 event kicked off with the inauguration ceremony, introducing attendees to a distinguished lineup of typography experts and facilitating student registrations. With 11 captivating workshop options on topics like “Storytelling and Narrative Through Typography,” “Expressive Typography to Visualise Kabir Dohas,” and “The Magic of Fusion: A Calligraphy Workshop,” the students embarked on an enlightening journey into the world of typography. The workshops provided a platform for the students to not only learn from experts but also engage in hands-on activities and cultivate their artistic and creative talents. It was a delightful journey of exploration and discovery as they delved into the intricacies of type design, storytelling through typography, and the magic of calligraphy. In the evening, participants enthusiastically explored the enchanting city of Banaras, immersing themselves in its rich history and captivating mythology.

The beginning of Day 2 was filled with boundless energy with typography demonstrations, aptly named “Subah-e-Banaras,” at the picturesque Assi Ghat. Renowned typography experts like Mr Achyut Palav and Prof. Ravi Poovaiah, among many others, graced this extraordinary event, which took place early in the morning against the serene backdrop of sunrise. The demonstration unfolded as a breathtaking showcase of artistic skills, with experts presenting their unique calligraphy styles. What left everyone spellbound was the seamless fusion of music and typography, where a talented performer danced gracefully with colour-soaked socks on canvas, and the experts translated her rhythmic movements into calligraphic masterpieces. It was a harmonious symphony of art forms that left a lasting impression on all fortunate to witness it.

Later in the day, the event continued with a series of enlightening talk sessions featuring distinguished speakers such as Prof GV Shreekumar, Dr Manish Arora, Prof D Udayakumar, Mr Muthu Nedumaran, Mr Santhosh Thottingal, Prof Achyut Palav and many other experts in the field. These lively discussions covered a wide range of topics, including the craft of sketching, the complexities of shaping and proofreading fonts, the development of Malayalam calligraphy over time, investigating whimsical typography systems using Kolam point lattice, and the vital influence of Jain manuscripts on India’s sacred typography, among other fascinating topics. The students were inspired and enlightened by the abundance of knowledge shared by these seasoned industry professionals, who gave us insightful and informative talks.

Day 2 was marked by a series of student talks that showcased their dedication and expertise across various facets of typography. Among the remarkable presenters was the student Jay Dasadia from the Institute of Design, Nirma University, who presented his research paper titled ‘Sorath – A Display Typeface for Saurashtra Script’ with the utmost finesse. The event’s renowned attendees showed Jay well-deserved praises and felicitation for his impeccable presentation. The event acknowledged the students’ efforts in securing a well-deserved spot at this esteemed international conference. It was evidence of the dedication of the Institute of Design, Nirma University towards developing academic brilliance and talent.

The students were welcomed to the Birla Temple early in the morning on the third day, which began with an immensely sacred experience. This occasion not only inspired a profound sense of reverence but also exquisitely captured the sacred and typographic themes. It was an ideal way to start the last day of the Typoday journey and one that left all feeling spiritually enriched. The subsequent day was brimmed with insightful keynote addresses delivered by esteemed speakers such as Prof Antoine Abi and Prof Kumkum Nadig, who delved into the intricate realms of Typography and experimentation, and Mr Perin Pudumjee Coyaji, who illuminated the audience on the 1001 names of Ahura Mazda through Avestan Calligraphy, among many other engaging topics. All participants had a comprehensive and engaging learning experience owing to the interactive discussions and Q&A sessions that complemented each session.

The closing remarks of the event left the students with enduring memories and a profound appreciation for the world of typography. The students came back with a deep appreciation for the various aspects of typography and a plethora of new knowledge.