Music, typography and Indian politics combine in Suprit Parulkar’s design portfolio
A recent graduate of Central Saint Martins’ graphic communication design BA, the designer embraces experimentation, chaos and randomness in his portfolio.
- Ruby Boddington
- 27 July 2020
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
Even before he was introduced to graphic design as a discipline, Suprit Parulkar was interested in typography. “I used to make hand letterings and type experimentations sketching out lyrics of my favourite songs,” he tells us. “I never really had the technical knowledge of type until recently, but somehow it has always been a major part of my designs.” Born and raised in India, he moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins. Now, with a design degree under his belt and a curious and experimental outset, Suprit embraces the myriad visual styles that come along with that.
It was during school that Suprit first discovered design where it was a subject on the curriculum. Around the same time, a friend of his brought him in on some real client briefs and “that was when I really started enjoying it and also considered it as a serious career option,” he explains. It was through this process that he realised working with music was an important part of his practice and found himself creating logos and posters for DJs and musicians alongside his friend Rahil almost every day.
No matter who the client or what the brief is, Suprit likes his work to be the result of a “wandering journey” where he allows his mind to meander. “I let experimentation drive most of it, and because I lose interest in things quickly I like moving between multiple visual styles or even the permutations and combinations of them,” he continues. “Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t but that’s what experimentation is all about.” Interestingly, the thing he describes as constant throughout his work is change, saying “I like randomness and chaos. I like complexity.” In turn, there is always a different element taking conceptual or visual lead and he often combines several ideas or styles resulting in a multifaceted output.
All this is not to say that Suprit doesn’t have a focus to his projects, however, which are often complex and beautifully executed. One such project is titled Aap Chronology Samajhiye, and charts the three-month-long protests which took place across India after the ruling right-wing nationalist party passed an act (Citizenship Amendment Act) which would no longer allow Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan to get citizenships in India, in December 2019. Another act titled the National Register of Citizens was brought in to deport every Muslim who failed to show the correct documentation of their history of residence and proof of nationality.
Suprit tells us more about the situation: “Both of them were heavily protested by people calling the laws and acts unconstitutional. Students from universities and protesters on the streets were repeatedly beaten up badly by the police, who sometimes even opened fire on them causing multiple casualties over the course. The government, media and the entire system were hugely criticised by various different people, political groups and communities and they came out in solidarity to oppose the new laws and the violence committed to enforce them. It was a huge movement which even saw major riots and gun violence amongst civilians in various cities. This news was somehow not picked and highlighted by international media and I was hearing about all of this from friends and social media. I wanted to document this whole story for someone who did not know anything about it.”
Suprit, therefore, created a book which tells the story of every single day and event of the protests, starting from the very beginning. “Even though I wasn’t in India, seeing so many articles, pictures, videos and social media posts everywhere made me feel for the people there,” he says, which is why he decided to stick to the raw coverage of the events, as the “story told with all its facts is impactful enough”. Focussing on the larger narrative, rather than individuals’ stories or experiences, the publication acts as “a tangible journal that has typographic statements and photography that are sourced from news and photographers in India.”
While working on this project, Suprit wanted the title of the book to be in Hindi but found that his typographic choices were extremely limited. “There just aren’t enough fonts! Even the ones that do exist are outdated, monotonous and boring,” he adds. “The lack of modern and creative Hindi fonts has seriously limited the ability of Indian designers to make good designs with Devanagari scripts, and therefore instead of ignoring the problem once again I decided to give it a shot.” The result is Six Point Six or छः दशमलव छः, which he is working on releasing as an Open Type font soon.
“The purpose of the font was given by the book, and the contents of the book very much directed what I wanted the font to look like,” he says. “I wanted it to reflect and have the same characteristics as the movement and protests going on in India.” Six Point Six is therefore bold, strong and contrasting – the same words which could be used to describe the protests. Similarly, “words like minimal, modern and geometric became a guide for the style of the font,” as well as striving for consistency, something that many existing Hindi fonts lacked.
A designer with myriad ideas and skills in toe, we’re excited to see what Suprit achieves now he’s out of university – and he’s got high ambitions for the coming years. Currently working on getting a job and a work visa, he wants to work with more musicians and design for music in “any way, shape or form”, as well as considering editorial design due to his love for typography.
छः दशमलव छः Exploring styles and possibilities
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.