Lava Devanagari, Telugu, Kannada multilingual font family

We have been working with Indian type design for well over a decade, and one of our long-term goals is to have multiple typefaces that support all the major writing scripts of India. While we still have a long way to go, we are pleased to expand our catalogue to include two new Brahmic-family writing scripts for the Dravidian languages of South India, Kannada and Telugu.

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Online presentation:
Lava Devanagari
Lava Kannada
Lava Telugu

We have been working with the Indian type designer Ramakrishna Saiteja, a native Kannada designer and recipient of SOTA’s 2017 Catalyst Award, who approached us a few years ago with the proposal to design Kannada and Telugu versions of Lava. Since then we have been working with Ramakrishna to complete the typeface and ensure both the highest technical quality and authenticity of design.

Both Kannada and Telugu scripts are rich in conjunct consonant clusters, and many existing fonts have difficulty rendering the below-base forms correctly, so besides the fine-tuning of the letterform proportions, a major priority has been to ensure the correct representation of the clusters, including two- and three-consonant conjuncts.

For Lava Devanagari we worked with Parimal Parmar, who took on the challenge of complementing the two south Indian scripts with the most common Indic writing script, Devanagari. This North Indian writing script is structurally very different from the South Indian scripts, and to make all three work alongside each other required making all the strokes thinner, as the shirorekha — the top horizontal line that connects the segmented characters — makes the text denser at small sizes. Lava Devanagari is rooted in traditional calligraphic writing, but the overall letterform structures have been simplified and are free of any decorative elements. Their curves are tensed and contrasted with simple angular stroke terminals that create unique flow and rhythm even in the smallest-sized texts.

Lava is a highly legible, contemporary typeface developed for editorial design projects. While its Indic variants Devanagari, Kannada and Telugu feature classical proportions and weight distributions, they also strive to bring modernity, function and a refined character into editorial projects or any situation involving lengthy text and requiring high-performance fonts working smoothly across many different writing scripts.

Illustrations by Namrata Goyal.