Geetika Alok explores abstract entities of the alphabet through type design
We have been in awe of the typographic work of Geetika Alok ever since we purchased a copy of Wallpaper* magazine’s Reborn in India issue from June 2011. Thrilled to see India being championed by such a well-renowned editorial, we also noticed it was typographically led by India, a display typeface designed together by Geetika and Henrik Kubel from A2/SW/HK, commissioned by Wallpaper* for this particular edition. Consisting of two weights, Regular and Regular Solid, the display typeface designed with geometric precision both characterises India’s cultural past, whilst still eluding towards the future with its digital-like letterforms.
Awarded a DFID Commonwealth Scholarship and having graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in Communication, Art & Design, Geetika works on diverse projects for cultural, design and corporate clients across several different types of media including typography, print, identity and environmental graphics.
Read our Q&A with Geetika below.
What is your background? What drew you towards type design?
I was born and brought up in Rourkela, a small town of Orissa. My father was an artist and had left his home in Punjab to pursue his passion in the arts. He was the first artist in Rourkela to start an art school that eventually became an integral part of my family. As a child, I was actively involved in his school, art exhibitions, artist groups and pursuing study in design was a natural choice. Fast forward I moved to the UK to pursue my MA in Communications, Art & Design at the Royal College of Arts and have been working between London and India ever since with interests in culture and typography.
My initial interests in type design developed while living in Bangalore. The city is a rich mix of old hand-painted vernacular graphics and new contemporary design. I loved to document the hand-painted local shop signs and collect things of 'intuitive' design.
What are you currently working on?
A multi-script type family consisting of Latin and an Indian script. A personal project, that I am partly doing at my MA in Typeface design at Reading
What differences have you felt working in India and UK? Has moving influenced your work at all?
UK demands sharp quality on time! It pushes to produce one's best but the work life balance is equally good that I missed while working in India. On the other hand, the best thing in India is the ease of production at lower costs.
The moving has undoubtedly brought a new dimension to my approach and process. It has helped me to bring my work and life together enhancing an intimate relationship with my own culture.
What are your impressions on the current state of graphic design in India?
The Indian graphic design is now much more confident and has its own persona. It wasn't the same ten years before. These are the exciting times and design is gradually being acknowledged as a powerful tool that can leverage the local talent and help country's economy. But the common man is yet to be blessed by the powerful design for a better living – local newspapers, magazines, street signs, school books, film graphics, packaging are one of the few in the lists. Design awareness and interest to change are to be inculcated. But the ball has begun to roll and we shall be able to witness the absolute complete potential of design soon.
Image credits: Geetika Alok