Font Designer – Kimya Gandhi

Kimya Gandhi

Interview with Kimya Gandhi

How did you discover your passion for type design?
In my early graduation years I would doodle my name on the back of notebooks in different styles. Later while studying graphic design, I was always interested in looking at typography books and would raid old book stores. Ever since, my passion about letterforms has only grown. It was in my post graduate years at IDC, IIT Bombay that I actually realized my deep interest in type design and decided to take it up professionally. Later I also did the TDi (Type design intensive) course at the University of Reading in summer of 2012 and that encouraged my interest in font design and research even more.

Is type design your main profession? Do you also work in other fields?
I am a freelance typeface designer based in Mumbai. I enjoy working on font design projects the most. My post graduate education helps me undertake various graphic and publication design work as well. I also teach as a guest lecturer at my graduate institute NIFT, Mumbai.

… The main challenge while designing the devanagari companion of DIN Next was the nature of the Latin‚ as opposed to that of the devanagari script …

What are the special challenges of creating new designs for an already existing font family, such as DIN Next?
The main challenge while designing the devanagari companion of DIN Next™ was the nature of the Latin, as opposed to that of the devanagari script. DIN Next is mono-linear and geometric, rooted in the German engineering design DIN 1451. Traditionally devanagari has been written with a reed pen and hence has an angular stroke. Simplifying details in the devanagari without having the script lose its character was one of the main concerns while designing. The attempt was not to ape or impose design features of the DIN Next on to the devanagari, instead retain the devanagari-ness and have a companion that shares an essence with the Latin and works harmoniously as a family.

Would you use DIN Next in combination with other fonts? If so, with which?
I think since the devanagari is a companion to DIN Next it works best as a family with the Latin. However the range of the devanagari family allows scope for experimentation. I would see the heavier weights of the DIN Next Devanagari be used in combination with any traditional/ modular devanagari fonts.

… I personally like typefaces that have been designed with careful attention to detail‚ that combine aesthetics and function effectively …

What do you think determines whether a typeface is good or bad?
There is sanskrit phrase that translates to ‘From the formless arises form’. It means that the form is decided by its function or concept. Good/bad are relative terms. I would say judging a typeface depends on many factors. A good typeface does justice to its concept and works well in a scenario it was designed for. I personally like typefaces that have been designed with careful attention to detail, that combine aesthetics and function effectively.

… I like working on various scripts and learn about their history‚ different script systems and forms …

What do you like about designing typefaces? Is there anything about the design process that you dislike?
While designing typefaces I enjoy the process of understanding construction of a single letterform to building the entire character set. The learning lies in getting all the finer details right for the font to work effectively as a whole. I like working on various scripts and learn about their history, different script systems and forms. There isn’t really anything that I dislike about the process.

How long does it usually take you to finish designing a font? Or perhaps you don’t work to a specific schedule?
The time taken to finish a font project depends on a lot of factors. The script, size of character set, number of weights to be designed are all responsible in deciding the work schedule. A smaller character set of a known script would take a few weeks while larger character sets with multiple weights might take months.
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