Typefaces have an interesting history in terms of their evolution in Europe (Rome, Italy, Germany) and the sub-continent (India) where the variety of typefaces developed over the period of time are so diversified and unique in themselves as India comprising of a large population belonging to different castes, communities, speaking different languages etc. Each typeface reflected the essence of that particular community where it is being used/evolved.
Indian Context –
The earliest script in India so far known is the Indus Valley pictographic script. Over 4000 symbol bearing seals have been discovered in the Indus Valley.
The script appears to be phonetic and has ideographic origin. The specimen are all in the form of seals. It is yet to be deciphered. Indus Script it is said to be the ancestor of the both, the secular Brahmi as well as the traditional vernacular scripts of India. The below picture shows evolution of devnagri script from the Indus Script.
Brahmi, the script of the brahmans is written from left to right(as shown below). It is the mother of all Indian scripts including the Devanagari script. Ashoka used this script for his inscriptions, carved into the face of rocks or on stone pillars.
Further evolution of Brahmi script lead to the fromation of Devnagri script (widely being used in various regions of India). Bamboo pens (as shown below) – also known as Reed pens used for writing devanagiri script. The 45 degree cut is the reason for the thick and thin features of the letterings.
The following series of scripts evolved from one another over the period of time in India under the rule of different emperors, hence a variety of different scripts are being used till date due to such a diverse population.