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The Project

Godna
Chittara

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Tattoos or Godna being applied on Baiga tribal women by the women of the Gond tribe.
Images courtesy: Indian Institute of Art and Design, Jaipur.

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The Gond tatto artist would traditionally sustain their livelihoods by applying godna (tattoo) on other tribal women such as the Baiga tribeswomen.
In more recent times, men and women are migrating to cities for jobs, and the display of tattoo in a contemporary society has reduced drastically.
In fact, so much so, that the Gond tattoo artists have had to diversify in order to sustain themselves — by applying their traditional tattoo motifs on stoles, bedsheets and even on walls.



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Buy Godna:

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Godna typeface

Godna is a display typeface based on Gond tribal tattoo drawings.
For this edition of the project, we engaged with three tribal women artists — Ram Keli, Sumitra and Sunita — who belong to the Gond tribe of Chattisgarh in Central India. These and other women from this tribe etch tattoos onto the Baiga and other tribal women. They were first enabled to understand the basic nuances of typefaces and also helped them get an understanding of some of the key aspects of type design, namely proportion and consistency.
Artists were allowed to create the letters in their own way, initially — to give them creative freedom and for them to enjoy the process. Over time, we helped hone their drawings through comments and suggestions. All the drawings and artworks are completely done by them and we never drew anything for the artists except as part of the instruction.

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Godna


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Godna or tattoo has many motifs, with each having a specific significance. Some motifs and designs are curative in nature, others are imprinted onto a women on special occasions such as weddings or child birth. They are highly valued for their powers of healing and are ritualistic in nature. However in modern times, fewer people are getting tattoos done, even in remote tribal villages and the tattoo artists are trying to find livelihood and sustenance by converting their symbols into art.

The entire process has taken us more than a year — from the initial interaction with the artists, the scanning and cleaning of their drawings, vectorization of their drawings was a very painstaking process as was the final stage of making the typeface. There were many challenges that we had to face and decisions we had to take. And now this is the fruit of our hard work.

Drawing of Godna Tattoo Letters by: Ram Keli, Sunita and Sumitra from Jamgala, Chattisgarh, India
Concept, Cleaning up and Vectorization of Letters: Ishan Khosla Design, New Delhi, India
Type Design: Andreu Balius, Barcelona, Spain.




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The three Gond women that drew the letters of Godna font.



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Godna
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Basic set



Stylistic set 1



Stylistic set 2

Stylistic set 3





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Gallery of images











































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© Typerepublic / Ishan Khosla Design. Barcelona-Delhi, 2017