Theka is a casual Latin display type family that was originally inspired by hand-painted municipal signs and ads seen everywhere in rural South India, especially on roadside walls. As most of the signs are in Malayalam, Theka was an experiment to see how a type “recipe” derived from Malayalam lettering could apply to a Latin type design.
Throughout the project, I worked to capture the lively and expressive letterforms of the Malayalam sign reference and to follow (to an extent) the brush logic used in these signs, while making departures where necessary. What started out as a fun exploratory exercise gradually found its legs into the original design Theka is today – one that aims to celebrate the rich visual culture in which I am lucky enough to be surrounded with, and immersed in, every day.
Jamie Otelsberg is a type designer based between Los Angeles, California; Kerala, South India; and Essen, Germany. Wherever she is in the world you can usually find her with a cup of coffee in her hand, and reading or studying something new. She currently works at OH no Type Co. in Oakland, California.