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Bengali header for Alphabettes

In March 2017, I drew a Bengali header for the website of Alphabettes, a loose collective of women working in the fields of lettering, typography, and type design. For this header, I wanted to recreate the very graphic lettering of Satyajit Ray, as seen in posters for movies such as Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969) and Sonar Kella (1974).

 
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Poster for Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (left) and Sonar Kella (right); both from Jayanti Sen’s Looking Beyond: Graphics of Satyajit Ray. For some years now, I have been taken by the bold yet playful lettering on these posters, and I was very excited to have an opportunity to create something in a similar style.

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It took me a bit of time to understand how Bengali letterforms could be stripped down to almost-abstract shapes and how best the positive and negative space should be balanced. As you can see on the left, my early attempts were far from successful — the letters were spindly and weren’t locking into each other to make a unit. On the right, you see the sketch that became the basis for the final design. Of course, it was fine-tuned a great deal when drawn as a vector.