SND Delhi lecture

ITF presented a lecture at the first Indian (and first Asia Pacific) news design conference last week. The conference attracted editors, journalists, designers and art-directors from across India to hear selected local and international speakers.

Out of all the widely varied presentations, we especially enjoyed the talks of Javier Errea. He spoke about the emerging profession of visual journalist, someone who intimately understands the needs of traditional journalism and is also well versed in graphic design and communication. Douglas Okasaki of Gulf News gave a passionate presentation about information graphics and how they enrich the quality of storytelling. Abel Robinson, the art director of the new economic daily MINT, presented their experiments with tablets and MINT's iPad version.

ITF’s Peter Biľak spoke about the role of typography, how it can shape the reader’s experience, enrich the identity of the company, and contribute to legibility and readability. India is the home of more than 400 languages and a dozen of writing scripts. Designing fonts for this environment presents particular typographical challenges, and Peter spoke about typical problems encountered by regional newspapers in India:

Bengali newspaper using a single typeface, distorted indiscriminately, resulting in a page with low information hierarchy.

• Because of the lack of high-quality fonts, many newspapers suffer from poor legibility.

• Because of the lack of fonts offering variations in height and width, many newspapers are unable to create a satisfactory hierarchy of information.

• Perhaps most importantly, because of the lack of quality fonts to choose from, the same font may be used by numerous newspapers and magazines, a severe impediment for publishers striving to build a periodical with a unique identity in an increasingly competitive environment.

Analysis of an existing Kannada-language newspaper and its most common typographical problems

Peter also presented a number of case studies in which ITF reviewed a newspaper’s current situation, suggested improvements, and then designed exclusive fonts which became part of the publication’s DNA. ITF is involved both in design of retail fonts as well as exclusive custom fonts, and some of those projects will be presented online shortly.

List of criteria for selecting newspaper typefaces

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