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Chittara Typecraft—how a floor decoration became a font

Region: Shimoga district, Karnataka


Chittara is an artform in which clay paste is used to create geometric patterns on the floors and walls of entrances of houses.


This artform, which originated from ancient cave paintings, eventually found its

way to the walls and floors of village homes. The Kannada word chittara (which is related to chittra ) means an image or design. Historically, chittara has been

practiced by women of the Deewaru community in Karnataka’s Sagar district.

Chittara patterns were painted in village homes on auspicious occasions, to

welcome the gods. These paintings are a part of family and community rituals

associated with festivities, and only the woman of the house makes these patterns. Today, Chittara is a languishing craft, with supposedly only five families practising it in the state of Karnataka.


Workshops with artisans vary from project to project and is dependent on how

literate the craftswomen are and how much exposure they have had. Since Radha Sullur, whom we worked with is literate in English, it was easier for her to

understand the nuances of letter shapes, although, we had to explain the rules of type design, to her, as well as explore how this specific artwork can be transformed into type. 


Craftsperson/Artist: Radha Sullur

Type Developer: Andreu Balius 

Type Designers: Ishan Khosla, Flora Brochier, Aditya Singh Tomar

Craft-Cordinator: Ishan Khosla

Chittara Typeface (Latin script font)

SKU: 001
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