Students of Bengaluru design institute recreate 27th English alphabet

Public TV English
Public TV English
4 Min Read
Students at the workshop.

BENGALURU: Students of the Lisaa School of Design in the city have come up with an additional alphabet that bridges the gap between English and French language pronunciation.

The endeavor took place during a typography and product design workshop at Lisaa School of Design wherein the participants included 2nd-year degree students from Bengaluru and visiting students from Lisaa, France. The process of recreating this letter involved sketching various primary versions until the most suitable and final version is chosen. This selected version will then be refined and digitally created, a statement from the institute said.

Avi Keswani, the founder and director of Lisaa School of Design said, “Language operates as a social agreement where we collectively assign specific meanings to arbitrary words within that language. For instance, the greeting ‘hello’ holds no scientific significance; its meaning is derived purely from our cultural understanding. Similarly, the concept of alphabets delves into semiotics, where letters function as symbols. These symbols gain meaning within a cultural context, such that ‘A’ represents ‘A’ only when interpreted within that context”.

“As designers, we aim to foster a mindset that questions norms and encourages thought-provoking ideas. This exercise served as a psychological exploration — can we challenge the notion of why English is confined to 26 alphabets? Our objective with this exercise was to provide students with a contextual framework. Being a French school of design, we recognized the challenges English speakers face in mastering certain French pronunciations. Hence, the creation of the 27th alphabet aimed to act as a bridge between these two languages, serving as the premise for our creative endeavour”, Keswani added.

The workshop comprised different phases, starting with understanding and research. A special presentation on phonetics was delivered by Madhuri Welling, a French language expert. The students then moved to creating the final version of the approved letter, employing digital tools and artistic techniques like wood carving and printmaking to produce a tangible representation of the letter as a wooden memorabilia.

The workshop unfolded in various stages, beginning with a deep dive into research and understanding the linguistic nuances and phonetic principles that underpin the creation of a new letter. Special presentations by experts like Madhuri Welling added valuable insights into phonetics, the statement said.

The process involves sketching multiple iterations of the 27th letter, experimenting with different shapes, forms and styles. The goal is to arrive at the most fitting and aesthetically pleasing version that aligns with the principles of typography and design. Once the final version is selected, the students transition to digital platforms to refine and digitize the letter, ensuring precision and adherence to typographic standards.

However, the project doesn’t stop at digital creation. The students also explored traditional artistic techniques such as wood carving and printmaking to transform the letter into a tangible piece of art. This hands-on approach adds a unique dimension to the project, blending modern digital design with traditional craftsmanship.

The recreated 27th letter symbolizes the intersection of tradition and modernity, bridging the gap in a visually captivating way. This project also resonates with historical precedents, such as Ian Fleming’s involvement in a typographical competition in 1947. Fleming’s initiative to explore new letters and designs reflects a similar spirit of curiosity and experimentation seen in this workshop, the statement added.

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