Information design for a PhD dissertation
Finding Bollywood is a book produced as part of a PhD dissertation by Dr. Apoorva Nanjangud, a Postdoctoral researcher at Radboud University Nijmegen. The dissertation studies the phenomenon of film tourism in the context of Indian cinema. An intense but very enjoyable exercise in information design, the book was designed for effective readability on screen as well as in print.
The visual language of this book was developed to create a balance between the seriousness required of a dissertation and the extravagance that so often signifies Bollywood. Since the book had very few photographs, chapter openers were an ideal space to play around and bring in a playful contrast to the text-heavy pages.
For chapter numbers, I used numerals from a typeface called Painter Kafeel, the digitised version of hand-painted lettering originally made by a signboard painter named Kafeel. Each character of this typeface consists of 9 layers, which combine to recreate the unique, three-dimensional look of typical hand-painted lettering. The colour palette (9-colour combinations for each character!) for every numeral was put together keeping in mind the overall aesthetic of the book as well as technical factors such as the quality of reproduction in print.
Featuring these stylised numerals in a book about Bollywood acted as an ode to the artists and street painters who were once an integral part of India’s film industry.