India’s first quarterly art and design newspaper is seeking to challenge the “self-seriousness” and “hierarchy” within the art industry while amplifying the voices of South Asian creatives from around the world, features editor Vasudhaa Narayanan tells It’s Nice That. Tarini Sethi and Anant Ahuja founded The Irregular Times in 2021. Responding to the “digital exhaustion and fatigue” which came with the Covid-19 pandemic, the team wanted to reanimate the printed newspaper form and share creativity in a safe yet tactile way, adds Anant. While the publication gives the newspaper format a refreshing and wholly irregular new look, it also draws on the nostalgia of the medium. Tarini explains: “It’s meant to be interactive and really bring back the idea of the vintage newspaper of our past where we would send in questions, wait for every issue with bated breath, and cut out and save columns that we loved.”
The first two issues were published in June and October of 2021, under the titles Please wait for the host to start this meeting and Landmarks and Landmines. Meanwhile, the third issue is set to be printed this February. As seen in its first two iterations, the publication has crossed the diverse and interesting topics of art, media, activism, politics and contemporary culture. As they began the design process for the first issue, Tarini and Anant dug up their “collective treasure box of tabloids and zines” for inspiration. However, as design intern Vama Gupta explains, she had to “unlearn” a lot of what he knew about the newspaper format. “First of its kind in the Indian art market, it was not surprising to learn that TIRT was to write its own narrative.”
In order to compliment the diverse range of creative projects featured within its pages, the team decided that each page should have its own unique treatment. Doing away entirely with the “traditional grid system”, the newspaper’s irregular format allows each element to be “more expressive” as it communicates “emotion” through its headlines and columns, says design director Pradhyumn Kag. While there are a few overarching elements which lend the newspaper a sense of cohesion, BUNxPAV studio, who helped to formulate its myriad elements, describes the process as a “constant state of play”.
When designing the website for TIRT, the challenge was to nail down a visual identity that would compliment the versatility and playfulness of the newspaper while establishing an overarching brand image. Using typography as a “primary graphical element”, BUNxPAV set about reflecting its “simple black and white, clean layout” while incorporating fun animated elements into the web design. For the next issue, graphic designer Rishav Paul hopes to develop the interactive elements of the website even further, while continuing to celebrate “the essence of the whole publication with all its quirks on one page”.
With all this already under their belts, we asked the team what we can expect from the next issue printed this month. Vasudhaa gave us the lowdown: “We want our readers to discover a lot of artists, read about a really cool Tamilian musician making waves on the global stage, try new South Asian recipes and go back to school with some fun pen to paper design workbooks. We hope folks also get to learn about womxn’s bodies, read womxn centric stories and experiences. We promise you’re going to want to pick up a copy once it drops!”
The Irregular Times: Issue 1 (Copyright © Irregulars Alliance 2022)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.