Jaini Font


Jaini and Jaini Purva (Devanagari) are typefaces based on the calligraphic style of the Jain Kalpasutra manuscripts, particularly referencing a manuscript from 1503 CE. The manuscript style has several unique features not seen in the commonly observed Balbodh style. These include a disconnected shirorekha with triangular wedges, short upper matras, squarish letters with large kana height, heavy knots, and the integration of lower matras within the kana height. It also contains some letter-shapes that have evolved over time and are not familiar to current readers. In an attempt to revive the distinct calligraphic style for contemporary use, Jaini adapts visual features of the manuscript style to contemporary letter-structures. Jaini and Jaini Purva differ in their treatment of conjuncts; Jaini adheres to contemporary conventions of horizontal conjuncts, whereas Jaini Purva stays true to vertically stacked conjuncts as seen in manuscripts.

While Jaini Devanagari references past manuscripts, its Latin companion draws inspiration from a hand-lettering style seen in present-day India. In regions where Devanagari is predominantly used, it is not uncommon to see Latin letterforms drawn with a Devanagari pen angle (which is almost perpendicular to the Latin pen angle) with a subtle hint of a shirorekha. Jaini (Latin) draws inspiration from this unconventional street style while visually matching it with the wavy stems and squarish counters of Jaini Devanagari.

Jaini Devanagari was designed in 2016 by Girish Dalvi and Maithili Shingre. Jaini Latin was designed in 2023 by Taresh Vohra. This project is led by Ek Type, a collective of type designers based in Mumbai focused on designing contemporary Indian typefaces.