Rediscovering the Script

Interview with Ankita Roy:

What is Brahmi and what is the book about?

Brahmi is one of the ancient scripts known to India majorly seen during 4th - 3rd century B.C., in the period of Asoka the great. Though the oldest script known is the Indus Valley Script, there are also few inscriptions found in 2500 B.C from Indus Valley written in Brahmi, it is evident that Brahmi had a long history even before king Piyadarsi Asoka. “Brahmi” is the mother of almost all Indic Scripts as well as script for other eastern Asian countries like Sumatra, Java, Bali, China and Malaysia. The book is a brief introduction about the ancient script Brahmi. This book talks about ancient writing styles and how they further developed into various other descendants. Brief historical documentation of scattered information is put together in the form of a book. Another challenge was to translate large amount of text into visuals.

Whom did you keep in mind when you designed this book?

The audience is largely typography enthusiasts, as well as a person deeply interested in scripts. The aim was to look into the past and to rediscover the lost script in a simplified visual narrative.

What visual design decisions influenced the semantics of the book, why did you follow a certain kind of visual language?

The Graphical representation of the book and visual decisions followed multiple dimensions of experiences I had during my museums visits. I wanted this book to reflect visual language of that era.

Did you follow a process?

Yes, the approach with which I began my project was to understand, try and learn the script - the basic form of how it is written, the visual grammar that it follows. To do this I had to go back in time through the information available in today’s time, in terms of references like books, websites, museums, inscriptions and pictures. I did not have any immediate output in my mind, though I knew output can be of any type or media, but later I finalized that into a book which speaks about that era. My visits to places like National Museums both in New Delhi as well as Kolkata cleared a lot of my confusions and gave me a new perspective. I could relate my readings from books and Internet regarding Brahmi with the real inscriptions and stone edicts.

For me this project required a lot of understanding of the historical details and evidences. I was dealing with heaps of information. It was difficult for me to choose and arrive at a structure for the book. It was like scratching the past with the available details and stepping into Bramhi with my research and understanding.
Contact Ankita: roygd4@gmail.com