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Exploring the Local-Global identities in Abstract Typography: NIT
Sikkim Logo Design Project
Nanki Nath
Writing basic alphabets is the foremost requirement of learning the ‘shorthand’
or in context of design, the ‘non-pictorial’. Unique visual approaches in Design
projects for identities / equivalent form language briefs would require
deliberate attempts of applying less familiar writing systems around the world.
In this context, every letterform becomes a powerful image of visual
discourse. Images that engage the form language on a dual level merge
‘pictorial’ and ‘non-pictorial’ – their marks have a life of their own while serving
still serving a depictive function1. In this duality, lies the image’s evocative
power (Samara, 2012). This formed the fundamental methodological
approach of exploring a new kind of form for redesigning the logo of the
National Institute of Technology Sikkim (NITSKM).
The graphic design methodology employed ‘the final logo symbol form’ to be
the visible feature of the pictorial representation of the final image. The ‘basic
shorthand’ (of letters N, I, T and S) depicted as a planned imagery led to
pictorial symbolism in the identity design. Each letterform shorthand is a
significant ‘sound image’. Four such sound images formulate the NITS
signifier. Each letterform here is the abstract image. NITS together imbibe an
implicit visual syntax that reveal the sequential meaning explicitly as the visual
language of the final logo-symbol form. The enlarged scale, central placement
and emphasis given to ‘S’ gives the logo symbol an aesthetic and visual
balance. Also, conceptually the local context of Sikkim as part of the global
circular whole carries additional visual prominence and style – poetic in
appeal. The final colour palatte in the visual identity manifests the cultural
connect with the conscious choices and the meaning of Sikkim for the local
The hand-written letterforms visually combine together as the elements of an
‘Image of a Thinking Engineer’ – a pictorial expression that manifests the
triadic philosophy of the National Institute of Technology Sikkim (NITSKM).
The concept design for this new visual identity is rooted in both local and
global connotations of NIT being a premier technical institute of National
Importance by the Government of India; playing a pioneering role to develop
‘Thinking Engineers’ who would bring growth, development and innovations
through education, engineering and technology in Sikkim, the gateway to the
North-Eastern corridor of India.
1!In his book Drawing for Graphic Design (2012), Timothy Samara empowers readers to add drawing to their design
vocabulary, featuring case studies of commercial projects from start to finish along with a showcase of real-world
projects that integrate drawing as an intrinsic part of their visual communication.
Keywords: Abstract Typography, Pictorial Shorthand, Form Language,
Graphic Design, Local-Global Context, Visual Identity, Logo Design, North-
East India
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