Anagha Narayanan Named Winner of 2020 Catalyst Award

The Society of Typographic Aficionados has announced that Anagha Narayanan from Hyderabad, India is the recipient of the 2020 SOTA Catalyst Award. Created in 2010, the Catalyst Award recognizes a person 25 years of age or younger who demonstrates significant achievements and future promise in the field of typography.

Anagha Narayanan

About the Winner

Anagha Narayanan, 23
Hyderabad, India

Anagha Narayanan studied design at DJ Academy of Design in India and has interned at Black[Foundry] in Paris. Throughout her childhood art and design has been the single connecting thread. As someone whose father owned an offset printing press, her interest in type and all things related started early on. In 2018, Anagha joined Universal Thirst type foundry where she has been able to contribute to a diverse range of projects and scripts. She is currently working on her first typeface release Ilai.

Ilai, one of the first variable Tamil typefaces, is a modern interpretation of 60’s psychedelia. It takes Tamil into new territory by offering nine styles of uncompromisingly quirky forms. It is designed for display uses, including branding, subheadings, and posters.

Type by Anagha Narayanan

Type by Anagha Narayanan

Type by Anagha Narayanan

Type by Anagha Narayanan

Type by Anagha Narayanan

A panel of judges composed of notable and experienced professionals selected Anagha from among numerous talented and brilliant young creative people from all over the world. Following are comments from some of the judges concerning her entry:

It’s difficult to be original as a young professional, especially when influential design is at everyone’s fingertips, but I believe Anagha has a unique perspective that will carry her voice strongly into the future.

Anagha’s work is impressive, comprehensive, and really shows how great craftsmanship and curiosity go hand in hand. I’m fascinated by her exploration with variable fonts. Her typeface merges the beauty of Tamil with the grooviness of 60’s psychedelia enhanced through the use of variable font technology. The sky's the limit for her!

I’m impressed by how much Anagha Narayanan has already accomplished, and the extent to which she appears to be extremely self-motivated and passionate about her chosen profession. One gets the sense that, for her, this really is a calling. I’m equally wowed by the fact that she seems undaunted by a project as ambitious as the experimental Ilai (one of the very first Tamil variable fonts), which takes Tamil into unexplored territory. I look forward to seeing lots of interesting work from her in the years to come.

Honorable Mentions

This year, SOTA is also bestowing Honorable Mentions to two individuals that the judges deemed highly deserving of recognition: Michelangelo Nigra, 24, and Céline Hurka, 25.

Michelangelo Nigra is a graphic designer, type designer, and illustrator based in Turin, Italy. His work explores systems, conventions and history. After graduating from IAAD in 2017, Mike interned at AlfaType Font Foundry. Eventually that would lead him to completing a Masters Program of Type and Media at the Royal Academy of Art in 2019.

Céline Hurka is a graphic and type designer from Karlsruhe, Germany. She works on freelance projects in the cultural field, where she combines an interest in editorial design with emphasis on type design and photography. She graduated with a BFA in the summer of 2019 at the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in the Hague and is part of the Type and Media class of 19/20. Céline has also co-authored Reviving Type with Nóra Békés.

SOTA expresses much gratitude to the judges for their contribution to the 2020 Catalyst Award, and to all of the sponsors that make this award possible. SOTA also thanks everyone who entered the competition and encourages the continuation of their efforts and interests in letterforms.

The SOTA Catalyst Award is presented each year to a young person who has created a significant or important body of original work a field related to typography. Recipients of the award have included Satya Rajpurohit (2010), Erin McLaughlin (2011), Niko Skourtis (2012), Kyle Read (2013), Krista Radoeva (2014), Shiva Nallaperumal (2015), Roxane Gataud (2016), Ramakrishna Saiteja (2017), Frida Medrano (2018), Ruggero Magrì (2019), and Anagha Narayanan (2020)