This project by Neelakash Kshetriymayum and Fiona Ross commissioned by Monotype is at heart a revival of the now ubiquitous original Linotype Bengali typeface designed by Tim Holloway and Fiona Ross (1978-1982) based on Ross’s research for her doctoral studies in Indian Palaeography. The new Linotype Bengali is informed by more recent research by Ross and Kshetrimayum resulting in additional glyphs that serve contemporary needs in a variety of genres – the original had been specifically designed for newspaper composition and in now outdated digital formats.
The new design makes use of OpenType features with the employment of contextual vowel signs for Bengali – a feature that Ross and Holloway had first introduced in Indian scripts for the Adobe Devanagari typeface – and has sophisticated contextual mark positioning. Furthermore, whereas the original design had existed in only two typestyles, extensive work has been undertaken to produce this new design in 5 weights: Light, Regular, Medium, Bold and Black. It has been an important aspect of this project to remain true to the original design concepts, and so to achieve optimal readability for sustained reading at small type-sizes, but the additional weights enable differentiation in document design, and afford users scope to produce textural variety in their outputs. This revival design is intended to widen the hitherto very limited palette of typographic choices in the field of textual communication in Bengali, Assamese and other languages that make use of the Bengali script.