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About the Speaker

Kadri, Meena_Original

Meena Kadri

New Zealand-born Meena Kadri won a Kentucky Fried Chicken coloring competition when she was six years old and has been involved in design ever since – as a graphic designer, design educator and more recently in the realm of design for social innovation. She taught graphic design for 10 years in China, New Zealand, and at the National Institute of Design in India. She currently explores the intersection of culture, communication, and creativity from New Zealand via her consultancy, Random Specific, plus works as a Community Manager on OpenIDEO. She exhibited collaborative works produced with Indian street painters at the Glasgow School of Art in 2007 and continues to document Indian street typography on trips back to her motherland.


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Indo-centric, Typo-centric: Hand-lettered Typography of the Streets of India

TYPO San Francisco 2013, April 12, 2013, 5:00 pm (Forum Building)

When encountering the Indian streetscape, one is struck by the diversity of competing signs – combining the informative, persuasive and the decorative to varying degrees in a visual cacophony of styles. Though digital technology is present much typography is still commonly hand-lettered – on the street, for the street. Here, Meena Kadri presents an exploration of such work as applied to vehicles, walls, signboards and all manner of surfaces with vernacular flair by painters who have often gained their skills on the job. Though usually not formally trained they collectively evolve styles that are pervasive to Indian visual culture. Kadri will scratch below the surface and give insight through investigation of the painters, their work and its communication context. She will explore the results of extensive interviews of Indian sign-writers and sticker-cutters and photographic capture of their works. Issues such as multiple language, globalised brands and competing technologies will be touched upon alongside the flamboyance of such idiomatic typography.