BY DEVELOPING a digital font for the handwriting of popular Marathi writer, Purushottam Laxman Deshpande, Gandhaar Sangoram is hopeful that people’s association with this multifaceted personality becomes permanent. City-based digital agency, BeBirbal, will launch the text font — PuLa100 — on his death anniversary on June 12, and it will be available for all patrons to experience their work in PuLa’s penmanship.
“Handwriting is like a writer’s painting. It is something that carries the essence of an individual in a visual sense,” said Sangoram, founder and director of BeBirbal.
He said once, while going through his own grandfather’s letters and reading his handwriting, he felt that he was still right next to him. “It is then that I conceptualised the idea, around 18 months ago, on the writer’s birth centenary, to develop a font that encompasses this legend’s handwriting. Hence, the name PuLa100,” he said.
The process to develop the font led Sangoram to get in touch with PuLa Deshpande’s family members, Dinesh Thakur, Jyoti Thakur and Niranjan Abhyankar from Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), where his copyrighted work is kept. “When I got the 150 samples of his handwriting, I was still unsure if the plan I had in mind would work out. You see, handwritings are not only unique to an individual but also have several variables. When I observed PuLa’s work, his first drafts were written in a scribbled manner to keep up with thoughts in his mind. In his much fairer copies, his curves and letters were more profound. It was an exciting challenge to develop it into a font,” said Sangoram.
With the help of font designer Kimya Gandhi of Mota Italics, Sangoram decided to preserve the renowned artist’s handwriting in its complete sense. Taking into consideration parallel and randomised characters in Devnagari, the PuLa100 font was developed.
Sangoram is planning to do the same for many other handwritings, apart from developing new Devnagari fonts. “When it comes to celebrities, you have to be careful as the font can be misused, and I hope they are not used for ill purposes. Even so, it is necessary to come with new, distinct Devnagari font styles as not only is the font difficult to develop but we need more variations like for Roman font styles,” he said.