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The development of typographic forms for the Kannada and Telugu scripts (1801–1900)

Ravichandran, S. P. (2020) The development of typographic forms for the Kannada and Telugu scripts (1801–1900). PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00099826


This research is about the developments in foundry type in the Kannada and Telugu scripts with a particular focus on western initiatives. In the Indian sub-continent printing and type making initiatives in vernacular languages were undertaken by the western settlers who extended their purpose to colonising and evangelising. The research aims to identify the factors from the foundry type period that influenced the typographic forms of the Kannada and Telugu scripts. In particular, it explores the role of type making in the divergence of the Kannada and Telugu scripts, the introduction of modulation and stroke contrast, the standardisation of their respective typographic forms, the demands from the printing environment on the founts, and how this history can inform current practice. Using a combination of archival research based on a framework and visual analysis, this research explores how the approach adopted by different missions had a direct impact on the typographic forms. The research catalogues the typographic differentiation and multi-script setting solutions that were adopted during the foundry type period. By identifying and listing the foundry types, this research identifies influence from three different writing tools, such as the traditional dried palm leaf inscribed with a metal stylus, western tools such as the paper and the dip pen, and Islamic writing tools such as the calligraphic pen on paper to transcribe the scripts. Inadvertently, it has also located the first book printed in the Telugu language. By highlighting these influences, the research identifies important historical references that might be useful for contemporary practitioners working to increase the typographic richness of the two scripts.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Ross, F. and Leonidas, G.
Thesis/Report Department:Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:99826


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