Brahmos & Brahmos Devanagari

A futuristic display family informed by traditional calligraphy

Today, many of the world’s scripts employ letterforms whose basic elements originally derived from forms written by broad-edged writing instruments. While the broad pen was a primary writing tool for the Latin script from Roman times through the European Renaissance, Devanagari was typically written with broad pens between at least the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. A broad-nib, when held at a consistent angle, creates aesthetically pleasing letterforms almost “by itself.” Historically, the Devanagari and the Latin scripts have been written with pens held at different angles, although these angles are practically mirror images of one another. Brahmos is a new constructed display family in which both scripts’ letterforms are designed as if they had been written by a broad-nib held at the same angle throughout.

Brahmos 01

Modular methods of letterform construction are a common trope in display typography, but Brahmos’s referencing of the broad pen results in a refreshing take on modularization. Many letterforms are simplified when then can be; e.g., the lowercase a is single-storey. Curves are eschewed in favor of straight lines and (usually) right angles. Diagonal strokes are still present, however. The Latin script’s characters features a touch of ornament due to their visible pseudo-calligraphic in-strokes. These artifacts – reminiscent of the prominent Devanagari headline – help bring the Latin and Devanagari portions of the Brahmos design closer together. That both scripts appear “written” with the same pen angled at 45-degrees is clearly Brahmos’s most striking feature.

Despite being intended primarily for display use, the Brahmos fonts are fully equipped. This also increases their uniqueness. The family includes several weights. Each weight has a character set range of 1180 glyphs – 790 for the Devanagari and 390 in the case of the Latin. As with other Devanagari typefaces from the Indian Type Foundry, Brahmos Devanagari’s robust character set includes all of the necessary conjunction as ligatures for the typesetting of the modern Indian languages written with the Devanagari script, including Hindi, Marathi and Nepali. Because Brahmos’s Latin characters appear semi-seriffed, it is best paired with sans serif typefaces – particularly ones with round features to play up the contrast with Brahmos even further. Good ITF matches include Engrez, Kohinoor and Pilcrow.

Brahmos 02

Brahmos is ITF’s first release of 2015. It was designed by Hitesh Malaviya (Devanagari) and Satya Rajpurohit (Latin).