Legibility of Bengali typeface : The role of letterform anatomy in type design

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India is a multilingual country with various scripts. Bengali is one of them. The anatomy of Indic scripts including Bengali has rarely been discussed and are not adequately defined. There is a lacuna of substantial work in typeface anatomy of Bengali script. Similarly, there is hardly any literature on legibility of Bengali typeface. One of the major issues with reading is legibility. Legibility is the perception of letter (of a typeface) with adequate distinctiveness in letterform. Letters are crucial for reading since it constructs the meaning of any given word. To achieve the research objective, we set to determine the anatomy of Bengali typeface and important anatomical features that are essential for letter recognition. The aim of the study is to find the role of anatomical features in typeface legibility. The methodology adopted for the study is ‘Design Research Method or DRM’ proposed by Blessing and Chakrabarti in 2009. The typeface anatomy of Bengali was prepared based on Semiotics that comprised two stages of analysis: Syntactic and Semantic. The structural formation of a typeface was investigated in the Syntactic analysis. To create logical parts out of that structure, a normalised approach has been introduced that broke down all the complex features to a single unit. The data from syntactic analysis were considered in the semantic study for meaning-making. The semantic study was carried out in two phases, Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic analysis. The syntagmatic analysis was used to determine the letter-parts with nomenclature. By repeated measures, similar letter units were grouped accordingly and were coded with identity. The study proposes seventeen distinct anatomy of Bengali letters after analysing vowels and consonants.
Supervisor: D. Udaya Kumar