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Edible Branding Reaches Millions in India

lifebouy_1a

I continue to get amped when the works of my former design students collide with my favoured intersection of communication, culture and creativity. While speaking at TYPO SF last month in California, I was alerted to an appetising development which I had missed from earlier this year, by fellow speaker, Peter Bil’ak. Fedra Hindi, the typeface he collaborated on with my former student Satya Rajpurohit, was used on a campaign ingeniously printed on rotis (Indian flatbread served at most meals) which were dished out at the Kumbh Mela, – attended by 80 million Hindu pilgrims across 55 days. No, that is not a typo. India’s Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest congregation.

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Unilever approached Ogilvy in Mumbai to advertise its Lifebuoy soap at the Kumbh Mela. Young creative, Vipul Slvi, came up with an idea to promote the soap – and hygiene at large – at an opportune moment during this year’s epic gathering. Teaming up with 100 kitchens across the festival, rotis were branded with the message Lifebuoy se haath dhoye kya? “Have you washed your hands with Lifebouy today?” – providing a savvy and sustainable advertising avenue while creating a friendly nudge around effective hygiene behaviours in general.

Here’s the somewhat schmaltzy coverage clip from Ogilvy – though I’d say you had to be amongst the crowd to dig the real flavour of this innovative campaign.

Images via The Economic Times

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Digitising Indian Ink
Typocentric: Bazaar
Hindi-Hybrid Font-Fusion

I continue to get amped when the works of my former design students collide with my favoured intersection of communication, culture and creativity. While speaking at TYPO SF last month in California, I was alerted to an appetising development which I had missed from earlier this year, by fellow speaker, Peter Bil'ak. Fedra Hindi, the [...]

Taped Crusader Pushes Perspectives

Inviting New Yorkers to view their city from a more playful perspective, Aakash Nihalani has been creating street art which encourages dimensional disruptions since 2007. Through his impermanent interventions he seeks to “highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself.” He’s currently developing a new series of works, in less urban environments, as the Lisa de Kooning Artist in Residence.
 

Aakash’s signature fluorescent isometric idiosyncrasies emerged when he was taping up his thesis show at NYU. He noticed the shadow of a pedestal which he decided to outline with tape. This observation led to further adhesive explorations, including fusing tape and cardboard, which Aakash eventually took to the street.
 


Check this fab clip on Aakash’s Stop sign piece in progress: Stop, Pop & Roll
 

“I kinda like the inevitable destruction. Making sure things last is a cumbersome task.”
– Aakash Nihalani, on It’s Nice That


Aakash’s works in New Delhi from late 2011
 


Images for Aakash’s Lacoste LIVE camapaign, shot by Mark Hunter
 

The Lacoste LIVE 2012 Spring/Summer campaign features Aakash, on the streets of New York, in their Unconventional Talents series
 
More recently Aakash has been producing works as the Lisa de Kooning Artist in Residence. From here he continues to explore and accentuate frozen moments while playing with our perspective preconceptions:




 
Note-worthy: Aakash’s lively take on Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog was actually shot from above, against a New York pavement:

 
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Random Specific Musings from the Ramayana
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All images, with permission, from Aakash Nihalani
 

Inviting New Yorkers to view their city from a more playful perspective, Aakash Nihalani has been creating street art which encourages dimensional disruptions since 2007. Through his impermanent interventions he seeks to "highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city itself." He's currently developing a new series of works, in less urban environments, [...]

Quick-pic Tuesdays: Street Level Branding

Subji Display

My favourite vegetable seller from time spent living in Ahmedabad, India
 

“A charismatic brand can be defined as any product, service or company for which people believe there’s no substitute.” – Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap

Countless businesses struggle to attain brand cornerstones like authenticity, distinctiveness, clarity, social engagement, trust and delight. Seems they could take lessons from this street vendor – frugally committed to getting it right.
 
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My favourite vegetable seller from time spent living in Ahmedabad, India   "A charismatic brand can be defined as any product, service or company for which people believe there's no substitute." – Marty Neumeier, The Brand Gap Countless businesses struggle to attain brand cornerstones like authenticity, distinctiveness, clarity, social engagement, trust and delight. Seems they [...]

Hindi-Hybrid Font-Fusion

Being a fan of both travel and typography, I was delighted to see the two artfully brought together in a campaign for Incredible !ndia via the Indian Ministry of Tourism. Who would have thought a government ministry would be dabbling in free fonts for foreigners? The Hinglish Project was masterminded by Shirin Johari of Mudra Communications – playfully showcasing an expertly crafted hybrid of Hindi’s Devanagari script and English’s Roman script, based on the phonetic sounds they share.
 

Welcome to India. To make our country a little more familiar to you we present The Hinglish Project… It aims to demystify individual letters and its script and make India more approachable. – The Hinglish Project website

 



The site goes on to showcase Hinglish Project merchandise in the form of booklets, maps, cushions, coasters, postcards t-shirts, bags, etc. Best of all you can play around with writing your own messages and even download the font for free.
 

I hit Shirin up for some randomly specific insights.

S P E C I F I C :

How did the Hinglish Project idea evolve?
I’d been toying with the idea of combining scripts from two different languages for a while and late last year I began putting this experiment in my mind to paper. I got into the challenge of pulling it off across the entire alphabet then having it perform as a functioning typeface. I was drawn to the idea that it could teach visitors something new while making Hindi seem less intimidating. I liked the idea that folks could customise their own messages which led on to the interactive nature of the project. And for me, it’s also a high if I can put a smile on someone’s face while they’re at it.

What was the most difficult part of making a hybrid typeface?
This was a huge learning process in typography for me. I had to get my head around devising a specific grid, an x-height, ascenders and descenders and all that typographic specific-ness. My former colleague, typographer Hanif Kureshi, helped me get on top of some key concepts. I was also cross-checking with linguistic specialists to maintain correct or very close corresponding phonetic sounds – so had to keep changing designs to suit their input. Despite the challenges, it was a rewarding process to go through the journey from my original doodles to a functioning font.
 
R A N D O M :

Any insight on influences from your childhood?
As a child I wanted to be a scientist and invent things that would change the world after hearing a list of patents by a famous scientist that my teacher read to us. That didn’t quite work out, so well – what stayed was the desire to create something new and helpful.

Given The Hinglish Project is for Incredible !ndia – have you got any must-do tips for visitors?


 
Related posts:
Overlap: Intersections of Desi & Diasporic
Digistising Indian Ink
 

Being a fan of both travel and typography, I was delighted to see the two artfully brought together in a campaign for Incredible !ndia via the Indian Ministry of Tourism. Who would have thought a government ministry would be dabbling in free fonts for foreigners? The Hinglish Project was masterminded by Shirin Johari of Mudra [...]

Stitched, Sealed, Delivered

When you are posed with sending a parcel from India you don’t have to look far for help. Outside most local post offices sit men ready to package your goods in white cotton, all set for postage – the humble parcel-walla, at your service. Earlier this year in Ahmedabad we presented them with a whimsical challenge: to bundle a typical, large chai-walla’s teapot to be dispatched back home to New Zealand. To spice things up a bit, we wanted it swathed in an indigo-dyed, Gujarati block-printed cotton.
 





From his street-side perch, our parcel-walla took on the task with the same consideration and care I have seen him commit to a number of my previous packages (mainly the odd decorated rickshaw mudflap). With earnest dedication he applied his skills to bind and bundle, stitch and secure our unwieldy kettle.
 

Just as he was finished, an elephant swung by to see what all the fuss was about.
 

And fittingly, a roaming chai-walla turned up to offer us tea – with a teapot very similar to the one we’d just popped in the post.
 

Our parcel-walla has been working from the pavement outside the Mirzapur Post Office, alongside his father, for 15 years.
 

His son happened to be there that day too. When I asked if he would also take up the trade, they proudly told me, no – that he would gain further education than either of them. He mentioned to me that he is keen on becoming a police-man – though I think he may also have a future as a millinery model.
 

Back home in New Zealand, it’s time to put the kettle on…
 
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When you are posed with sending a parcel from India you don't have to look far for help. Outside most local post offices sit men ready to package your goods in white cotton, all set for postage – the humble parcel-walla, at your service. Earlier this year in Ahmedabad we presented them with a whimsical [...]

Quick-pic Tuesdays: Small Fry

In my ongoing search of micro-supply for low-income households, I spotted this slick idea by a street stall in Mumbai. They repackage cooking oil into small packets – perfect for a day’s use. This makes a huge difference for those on irregular incomes who’s budgets are focused on immediate requirements. Even small-fry deserve choices.
 
Related posts:
Quick-pic Tuesdays: Daily Needs
Sustainable Solutions from Mumbai Streets
Random Specific images on Flickr
 

In my ongoing search of micro-supply for low-income households, I spotted this slick idea by a street stall in Mumbai. They repackage cooking oil into small packets – perfect for a day's use. This makes a huge difference for those on irregular incomes who's budgets are focused on immediate requirements. Even small-fry deserve choices.   [...]

Quick-Pic Tuesdays: After Hours Needs

Enjoy Box
An aptly named slot machine I spotted in Bologna a few years back – dispensing cigarette papers, lighters & condoms. Little necessities for a good night out?
 
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An aptly named slot machine I spotted in Bologna a few years back – dispensing cigarette papers, lighters & condoms. Little necessities for a good night out?   Related posts: Quick-pic Tuesdays: Daily Needs Indo-Italian Moves Random Specific images on Flickr  

Quick-pic Tuesdays: Daily Needs

A few weeks back I watched a small trader at Dharavi, carefully set up his stall to feature a limited range of goods – perfectly portioned for the daily needs of a household. This practice is common at street stalls in India where nudging micro-sales, in the context of resource constraint, yields better returns than vying for bulk purchase.

Sometimes just enough is the most enticing proposition.

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A few weeks back I watched a small trader at Dharavi, carefully set up his stall to feature a limited range of goods – perfectly portioned for the daily needs of a household. This practice is common at street stalls in India where nudging micro-sales, in the context of resource constraint, yields better returns than [...]

Horn Please: Embellishment Central

Bombay continues to provide me with spicy new discoveries on every visit and this last trip was no exception. I stumbled on Wadi Bunder, a dense residential slum area peppered with truck decorators who were painting, welding, riveting, hanging, carving – anything to sweeten the deal on humble cargo trucks.
 




Truck painting in action at the hand of Battu Varma, who has been using trucks as his canvas since he was 15 years old
 


Diamonds are a truck’s best friend
 

Trunk line door panels
 

Welding custom truck body fittings
 


Carved panels adorn various parts of trucks – both interior and exterior
 

Hanging items accentuate a truck’s movement while delighting the eye
 


Various painters in action at Wadi Bunder
 

Telling it like it is
 
Related posts:
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And if Indian truck decoration is your thing – check out my London-based, Indian-born buddy Kangan Arora,with her posts from further North.

Bombay continues to provide me with spicy new discoveries on every visit and this last trip was no exception. I stumbled on Wadi Bunder, a dense residential slum area peppered with truck decorators who were painting, welding, riveting, hanging, carving – anything to sweeten the deal on humble cargo trucks.   Truck painting in action [...]

Spun Gold

Upcycler

Recently in Ahmedabad I got on the hunt for upcycled rope – made from plastic and foil packing waste – which I’ve spotted throughout Gujarat over the past years. I came across street-side rope spinners, distributors using scooters and rickshaws plus a number of examples of the rope applied to bed bases. At the hands of savvy Indian micro-entrepreneurs, packaging life-cycles are extended and waste is transformed.
 

Rope is spun on the roadside using hand-operated machines
 

Rope is bundled and stacked onto rickshaws and scooters for distribution
 

Rope is sold in bundles and also fashioned into bed bases.
 
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Recently in Ahmedabad I got on the hunt for upcycled rope – made from plastic and foil packing waste – which I've spotted throughout Gujarat over the past years. I came across street-side rope spinners, distributors using scooters and rickshaws plus a number of examples of the rope applied to bed bases. At the hands [...]