(thesis advisor)Barbara Morris
(thesis advisor)David Carroll
(thesis advisor)Chris Prentice
(thesis advisor)William Bevington
(thesis advisor)James Mantalbano
Hybrid Masala, which means mixed flavors, is an experimental writing system and a display font that combines the scripts of Hindi and English, namely Devnaagri and Latin respectively. The system entails a set of rules about usage, phonetics and typography to logically combine Hindi vowels and English consonants and one supporting digital font called HybridMasala.otf.
This writing system has been inspired by a current trend in Indian pop culture of Hinglish, a code switching language, where Hindi and English are both used to construct sentences and also create hybrid words. Hinglish is commonly seen across all media - TV, Print, Web and Radio. While, written Hinglish only employs the Latin script, Hybrid Masala allows for a combination of Hindi (Devnaagri) and English (Latin) scripts to be used, thereby bringing the Hindi back into Hinglish writing and this strikes a balance between trendy and traditional.
Hybrid Masala works well for short sentences, phrases and words and not for lengthy paragraphs, therefore it naturally lends itself to be a display font. This system and font can only be completely understood by an audience that can read both Hindi and English. Graphic designers can use this font to give their work a bicultural flavor, additionally this is a great tool for identity building and branding purposes as it vibes well with the Indian youth.
As a graphic designer my motivation to pursue this project was to take the opportunity to study typeface design, specifically for Hindi. Additionally the thesis reflects upon my own personal duality and bicultural existence as an Indian studying in the US. I hope to inspire other designers to create more fonts for the Hybrid Masala writing system, additionally I hope other designers would be challenged to invent writing systems for code switching languages like Chinglish, Arablish and Tamilish where the two combined languages have different scripts.
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