malayalam the jalebi type

Ever wondered that the connection between letterform and spoken language is? malayalam is a perfect example of a language pronounced exactly the way it is written! the rounded forms of the alphabet corners resonate the sound of the language spoken. strangely it also reflects the nature of kerala and the character of the people – laid back, easy going and ofcourse, verbose!

About typesutra

Typesutra is type love. love for type. a type of love. true love. true type. Typesutra is a typographer's personal diary from Cochin, Kerala, South India. Growing up with letterforms like malayalam, tamil and the local interpretations of the Latin script has deeply influenced my design aesthetic and found type continues to be my greatest inspiration.


  1. Jose Puliyankunnel

    I love malayalam the language, people, nature, culture, traditions, art forms religios harmony, food habits, reading habits, social awareness and all those attached with this blessed land of kerala, EXCEPT THE WAY THE ALPHABETS ARE DESIGNED by our Malayalam Gurus. They just imitated some forms from other indian languages and make a more complicated shape, made more difficult to a learner to grasp. Why should the alphabet ‘Aa’ or ‘Ka’ have such complicated curves? No wonder why our children learn English Alphabets quicker than any Indian languages, because English is based on Graphic patterns, easy to remember.

    • Malayalam was mostly hand written so there was no particular grid or height/width to restrict the letterform. I assume that’s the main reason for haphazard letter styling. Tamil, on the other hand is more structured in its script largely due to the usage for engraving and formal communication.

    • Interesting to note that speaking Malayalam is just as complicated! Try translating a sentence from English to Malayalam and see how much longer it takes to communicate the same meaning!

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