Back Story: In 2009, type designer Satya Rajpurohit teamed up with Peter Biľak, head of the Typotheque Type Foundry, to launch Indian Type Foundry, dedicated to producing high-quality Indian and Latin typefaces. Akhand Multiscript got its start in 2012 when designer Sanchit Sawaria (still a student at the time) proposed drawing a family of condensed Devanagari scripts. “Since we didn’t have any condensed Indian fonts in the library yet, I liked the idea and asked him to develop it,” Rajpurohit says. “Sanchit spent about six months at ITF working on Akhand Devanagari, which immediately became a hit, and then moved on to open his own studio.” Soon after the typeface launched, ITF started getting queries for similar fonts in other Indian scripts, too. Because India has so many languages, it makes no sense for a type family to just support one or two of them. A team of 11 designers was needed to complete the ambitious project, as the fonts’ large character sets make it impossible for a single designer working alone to draw all of them within a reasonable time period; Devanagari alone has around 800 characters per font weight. The foundry added Tamil, Malayalam, and Bengali in 2013; Latin support in 2015; and finally Gujarati, Telugu, Kannada, Gurmukhi, Sinhala, Arabic, and Odia in 2018. Akhand also supports Sinhala, the official language of neighboring Sri Lanka. Akhand Thai is due to be released soon.
Why’s it called Akhand Multiscript? “Akhand is a Hindi word meaning monolithic,” says Rajpurohit. “For a large type family supporting all of India’s official scripts while keeping a unified visual language throughout, the word monolith somehow complements the design.”
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Akhand is designed as a modular system—its shapes bear a strong commonality across languages without becoming repetitive. Curves in the modules have all been optically corrected, softening the mechanical nature that would otherwise become too dominant. While the shapes used in each of the Akhand subfamilies are script-specific, they share a similar dynamic where typically rounded elements have been compacted, and vertical aspects flattened. This “straightening out” process lends a streamlined look.
What should I use it for? Akhand was designed primarily for newspaper headlines, but its uniform strokes means it also looks great on screens. The Light, Regular, and Semibold styles are suitable for use in short paragraphs of running text. It’s ideal for setting powerful messages without occupying too much space.