The Indian Type Foundry’s Akhand super family features compact monolinear letterforms for the Bengali, Devanagari, Malayalam and Tamil scripts. The shapes used in each subfamily are script-specific, but they all share the same dynamic. Typically rounded elements have been made compact; their verticals are flattened. This ‘straightening out’ gives text set in the typefaces a streamlined look. The modular forms of each character bear a strong commonality to each other, without becoming repetitive. However, the curves in these modules have all been optically corrected, removing the mechanical nature that would otherwise become too dominant. Akhand’s modularity extends beyond the formal level, too. Its design is systematic: not just regarding the number of languages and writing systems it supports, but also concerning the family’s weight and width compliments.
The super family supports four scripts across 45 font styles. This broad range of weights and widths makes high-contrast combinations possible. The lightest and the heaviest styles may be mixed to create a powerful effect in your design. Each font style offers full support for conjuncts and ligatures, as well as occasional contextual alternates. Akhand Bengali and Akhand Devanagari each span a range of eight weights, from Extra Light to Black. Akhand Malayalam and Akhand Tamil offer users the same eight weights, but ITF has expanded their range to also include five Condensed fonts for each script. The Akhand Malayalam and Akhand Tamil Condensed fonts span a range from Light to Bold. Finally, ITF offers three Akhand Tamil Display optically-sized variants: Hairline, Extra Thin and Thin.
The base character height in the Akhand fonts is ‘big on the body’. Across a line of text, the consonantal forms take up the majority of vertical space. Vowel marks above and below have been shortened – keeping these to a minimum allows for lines of text to be set more closely together vertically. The reduction of interlinear space is paramount for successful headline typesetting, and Akhand performs much better in display applications than similar fonts with more elongated vowel marks. Because of their reduced height, the typeface’s vowel mark forms have been simplified somewhat out of necessity, but this stylistic reduction is in keeping with the modular feeling of the typeface’s overall design. Dot-shaped marks appear rounded in order to help maintain their differentiation from other marks.
Developed for display typography, the Akhand super family is primarily intended for headline setting. Nevertheless, the design performs well in shorter-length text, too (in call-out text blocks, for instance). The family’s lighter styles are suitable for short paragraphs of running text, as the negative spaces inside of the letters – as well as between them – remains more visible than the letters’ strokes. Additionally, the base characters of the three Akhand Tamil Display fonts make use of the vertical plain to the fullest extent possible. Because of the extreme thinness of their strokes, these fonts are only intended for very large typesetting. The compressed nature of their design also allows for setting a maximum amount of large text on a single line: these are excellent banner headline fonts.
The Akhand typefaces’ monolinearity invites parallels with sans serif style typefaces often designed for the Latin script, as well as a few other scripts not part of the super family. The universality of Akhand’s design language enables users to effectively mix it with texts set in other languages and scripts, helping make Akhand an excellent choice for use in corporate identity work, in addition to a broad range of editorial design scenarios.Be the first to comment