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Nathi Nonsense: A new Identity

The story

Five years ago, young kids demanded change and when it was not handed over to them, they decided to take the matter(s) in their own hands. It was co-founded by young like-minded people who had the drive, and contacts with someone young who could use a tool or two on photoshop. What we had, for the time being, was something that looked like it was made on MS Paint. From there it was a big jump when an acquaintance lent us a helping hand and created the previous logo we used to have now, created by Siddharth Laheri- in a pleasant turquoise shade, and a Nathi Nonsense brandmark styled with the typeface called The Hinglish Project by the most talented Shirin Johari.

The need for a change

Five years later, we found we were not just growing, but we were also growing out of the identity that we were using. It was a favor done by the previous artist to us and reflected nothing we did because we were ourselves unsure of what type of organization this would be. Now, we had more definition to describe us in a breath. We found our vision, our history helped us finalize six broad umbrellas that we circle around to bring about a change in the way our social environment functions.

For five years, Nathi Nonsense has explored almost every medium and platform, both online and offline, to identify what is is that it stands for. These five years have been a journey of learning, unlearning, experimenting, and initiating things Nathi Nonsense never initially planned on.

When we consider ourselves drivers of change, it would be hypocritical to not undergo some change ourselves.

Implementing change.

After this long and deeply insightful experience, Nathi Nonsense has realized that it stands for anything and everything that pertains to a young citizen; be it about self, social or political identity.

We decided upon not just defining our role, but also create an extended identity around them to give them more ground and importance when an individual engages with us, they can easily find their way into their liking of work they want to be a part of. It is designed to be inclusive. We include our entire team in major decisions.

What better time to have taken up this long due project than in the middle of a global pandemic. We were not doing events and we had more time to make such organizational decisions. We even aligned our objective by hiring a freelance artist- an industry of young hard workers and skillful artists who had to bear the blow of the global economic condition due to the pandemic.

This updated identity still carries the merits of the previous one but has its own fresh take on what the team is doing. Neel Panchal, the designer of our new identity is a student of Baroda’s most prestigious, Maharaja Saraji Rao University learning the art, craft, and the skill he is still developing in his PDVA post-diploma in visual arts. We decided to take upon a young amateur, for their fresh perspective, and the common understanding of the youth that we were made of.

A peek into the design thinking.

Let’s talk about the creation, the most important visual element of our elaborate identity, the Nathi Nonsense logo. At first glance, it is the Hindi letter ‘न’ in the Devanagari script as the designers call it. The letter ‘न’ because as much national and international work we have done or have planned in the future, we will always be rooted in the motherland, in the city of Ahmedabad, where it all originated, and still is home to the Nathi Nonsense headquarters. This city has contributed a lot to what, where, how, and why we are today. The desi language, the most spoken language in India, Hindi, and the language most spoken in Ahmedabad- Gujarati, there are immense similarities and diversities, but One thing that is similar is the script. ‘न’ is ‘ન’ in Gujarati. Basing itself from where it originated, Nathi Nonsense strives to expand in every social and political aspect, helping the youth of India to become more aware and sensitized.

It was very difficult to point out what exactly we do, to define us and give Neel a design brief. We had done a lot, too much to narrow it down to a few words that describe the type of business. We were in the business of change and unfortunately, that is too poetic for a business description. We knew what we were not. We were not a media house or a news channel, we were not a group of like-minded people discussing issues as like in a salon for intellectuals of erstwhile Europe. We were not social media influencers or content creators.

This did reinforce the fact that we were looked at as a platform for virtually anyone who needed it. All these years we were building a community and also acted as a catalyst for Ahmedabad’s cultural development.

The new Nathi Nonsense identity is about the strong values we have developed. The ‘न’ in the logo is in a mosaic form; made of different shapes and different colors depicting diversity and them still fitting together that reflects the inclusive values we hold in our institution. The mosaic gives it a hint of history, How we still find such artistry in the old city of Ahmedabad which has now been declared the only UNESCO heritage site in India, a whole part of the city divided by the Sabarmati river and connected by historical bridges like the Ellis Bridge. We still stand by our vision to be of addressing each problem with different perspectives and its drive to understand, strategize, and have a proactive approach towards driving change in our society through different mediums.

The typeface chosen is Poppins which is very flexible for its usage in English and Hindi to reach the type of audience that we aspire to be a part and carry on our mission. It carries forwards the geometricity of the logo. Poppins itself is one of the Geometric sans serif typefaces. Such Geometric sans serif typefaces have been a popular design tool ever since these actors took to the world’s stage. Poppins is one of the newcomers to this long tradition. With support for the Devanagari and Latin writing systems, it is an internationalist take on the genre. Each letterform is nearly monolinear, with optical corrections applied to stroke joints- where necessary, to maintain an even typographic color. Many of the Latin glyphs (such as the ampersand) are more constructed and rationalist than is typical. The Devanagari design is particularly new, and is the first-ever Devanagari typeface with a range of weights in this genre. Just like the Latin, the Devanagari is based on pure geometry, particularly circles. Credit where credit’s due, the Devanagari is designed by Ninad Kale. The Latin is by Jonny Pinhorn.

In the words of our designer Neel Panchal, the new Nathi Nonsense logo is not just a symbol it is a communicative visual identity. The geometric motifs in the logo resemble the target pain points that the organization targets and works towards achieving. This is done through graphics that are minimal yet expressive enough. The typography used is Poppins, rationally geometric to match the look and feel of motifs and the aesthetics of the logo mosaic. Along with one of the colors used in the logo, Poppins supports Devanagari script and both of these carry forward some aspects of the previous logo to have a sense of continuity and bridges the past, present, and the hopeful future of Nathi Nonsense.

The mosaic and the motifs.

Apart from the mosaic, we decided to further even identify the core areas that we work in and to give them individual identities, keeping the salience with the main identity, but still having their own communions and missions going on simultaneously. Neel introduced to us, the Nathi Nonsense motif system that is designed to look visually harmonized yet distinctive to the issue it has been created around.

Community and Culture:

We believe discovering one’s self is a complex process that is reflected in the intertwining of community and culture. The interplay of the two plays a formative role in our identity.

The group of diverse squares shows community. The negative space forming between the squares form two arrows pointing at the center shows the invisible relation we share with our community through the core values shared between all members.

Creative Arts:

Creativity is highly personal, very subjective, and is a great tool to express in a way of other’s liking and relatability. When expression and emotion conjoin, they form a very strong bond of possibilities limited only by your imagination. We constantly strive to explore one’s creative zest and provide a platform to help shape it creatively and act as a platform o also exhibit that creation to a large audience.

The timeless circle here is divided into two aspects that depict beauty and emotion for this motif.

Current Affairs:

As stated previously, we are not a media house or a news agency. But to know about society is the ideal way to become a true citizen of that society and have a proactive approach towards change that you seem is necessary bringing in your geographical area of day to day functioning. To become active citizens, We must be mindful and aware of what is happening. Even putting out opinions is a way to contribute by giving feedback to the policymakers who usually are not even living in the same proximity as you.

The recurring lines illustrate the ever-growing and constant nature of affairs around us and the dire need to stay well-informed.

Social Issues:

A free-er society is a better society is no news to changemakers. We stand for equality and equity for and amongst every individual. There are many fights to be fought, many issues to be addressed, and reach that utopia where everyone is equal. The social issues we get involved with are our steps towards a better and equal society.

The motif is clearly inspired from the equal to (=) sign representing balance.

Political Awareness:

Dirty is the adjective we generally use with politics which is nothing but a reality in the world of democratic governance, and even otherwise. We live, breathe, and partake in politics in daily life, even personal. We can’t be bereft of this reality and know that not participating is a very privileged decision to make since in this democracy, every vote counts and so does the ones who did not vote. We strive for a better understanding of politics and making informed choices while standing behind the booth ready for getting our finger marked for contributing to a better nation.

Such a multifaceted word needs a multifaceted motif. It can be looked at with the context of a solution, as well as looked down at for being something that is not everyone’s cup of tea. The ‘tic tac toe’ knots and crosses depict exactly those two ends of the political spectrum.

Art Activism:

Nathi Nonsense is rooted in activism, it was conceived with a feeling of rebellion and utter refusal to accept wrong things, as they are. Art is subjective. But when provided with a depth of meaning, it soars and communicates with people regardless of any type of social, man-made barrier. A tinge of activism can be branded well, and given much more unison based power. One of it’s best functions is the dissemination of information. The mediums are unlimited. It‘s the message you try to put through. In art, the world speaks the same language.

The whole motif points towards a direction, and forms into an abstract concept for a fish or a kite, it is open to interpretation and aims at anyone who has the need to express their innate feelings by channelizing it to create art.

“We are not afraid of change, we detest a world without change.”

Written by Manas Daxini.

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