The NOTA (none of the above) symbol, being used for the first time in Bihar, came about after the designers had taken feedback from villagers below the poverty line and semi-literate voters found that they, too, related the cross sign with rejection.
Designed by National Institute of Design Ahmedabad, the symbol was cleared by the Election Commission recently. The NOTA option itself has been in use since October 2013.
“We visited villages Dahemi and Zhakhariya in Anand district of Gujarat and spoke especially to BPL families, many of whom were illiterate, and showed them our images,” said Tarun Deep Girdher, senior faculty member in graphic design & head, Print Labs, who designed the symbol with Rana Swarajsinh. “We also asked groups of semi-literate women to draw and create images that to them were symbolic of rejection, apart from our images… We had to cater to various levels of perceptions of not only literate but also illiterate audiences across India. Another challenge was that the logo should be legible even when used in thumbnail size on the ballot paper or EVM.”
The symbol took five months to design. The team worked closely with the chief electoral officer of Gujarat, Anita Karwal. Girdher has previously designed several other symbols such as those for RTI, National Book Trust, High Speed Rail Corporation of India Limited and Central Adoption Resource Authority.