Type Camp Chennai, India, 2014


In late February, Hanna Donker and Kalapi Gajjar, both Font Developers at Dalton Maag, attended Type Camp Chennai 2014. “Since 2007, Type Camp has held type camps in 8 countries on 5 continents and has helped hundreds of people at all levels of experience and knowledge to learn more about typography”.


Image courtesy of Daria Lanz

Here are Hanna’s reflections from the week:

Type Camp Chennai 2014 was an educational workshop led by Type Camp instructor, Shelley Gruendler, and held in the city formerly known as Madras, a city in South East India that contains roughly nine million people and which has a tropical climate and a very fast pace of life.

The camp dedicated a whole week to discussions, projects, visits, talks and workshops – all focused on Tamil and South Indic typography. It brought together a group of enthusiastic creatives from around the world with a shared interest in Indic type. We shared our knowledge and learned from each other throughout the week by collaborating on projects and presentations. And to be honest, the sharing went even further as we crammed 4 people into a tuktuk – which was obviously very cosy!

Type camp was an amazing opportunity to expand my expertise in South Indic scripts by learning about local lettering from sign painters and by seeing and feeling the historical and cultural context.

Visiting the ancient temples in Mamallapuram and seeing Grantha script engravings was quite special to me as it isn’t very common to come across. And when we made Kolams in the streets of Chennai, local woman joined the group by a mutual curiosity in each others worlds, which left us amazed and very humble.


Type Camp strengthened my understanding of the function and use of typography within the specific cultural context of South India. I also learned Tamil script through some amazing lectures from Rathna Ramanathan and Nia & Selvan Thandapani, and all the incredible sign painted logos in the streets of Mylapore neighborhood.

The colour, speed, food and smell of India all add up to an amazing experience. It was a wonderful journey and I don’t think I can thank Dalton Maag enough for this opportunity.

You can read Type Camp instructor, Shelley Gruendler’s blog of the week-long type camp and see some great pictures at  http://www.typecamp.org/incredible-india-2014/.


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