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Dr Vaibhav Singh


Areas of interest

My areas of interest revolve broadly around typographic history, printing, publishing, and textual communication, with a focus on aspects of design and technology for Indian languages and scripts. I am particularly interested in the processes of design in their broader sociopolitical context.

My research aims to span interactions between designers, manufacturers, promoters, and users across geographies, as well as across social groups. My research interests extend to working methods and practices, their transformation across technological change, transnational professional and commercial networks, and the dynamics of international collaboration in the development of design and technology across linguistic boundaries.

Research projects

I am currently pursuing a postdoctoral research project titled "Merchants of alphabets: networks of typographic design and technology in Indian language publishing, 1900–1950". This project aims to provide a comprehensive scholarly assessment of the impact of typographic design and technology on the linguistic diversity of Indian publishing in the decades leading up to the country's independence. It examines how creative and commercial networks that enabled material production of text in India's multilingual landscape played a critical role in establishing language and script preference, spurring the definition of regional priorities in printing and publishing. It situates typographic design – a critically under-researched area in publishing and book history – within the intellectual frameworks of nationalism, mass communication, and technological modernity at large.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD (Devanagari type in the twentieth century: motivations, imperatives, technology and the design process), University of Reading
  • Postgraduate Certificate in the History of the Book, University of London
  • Certificate of Higher Education in English Literature, University of Oxford
  • MA in Typeface Design, University of Reading
  • MDes in Visual Communication, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
  • Bachelor of Architecture, University of Pune

Selected publications

  • Singh, V. (2015) 'Soldiers of lead, denizens of pixels'. Technology and South Asia, pp.13-15. Harvard South Asia Institute. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Singh, V. (2017) 'Indian scripts and their transition into print'. Hiut, Typography Journal, no.7, pp.50-65. Type Space Inc., Seoul
  • Ross, F. and Singh, V. (2014) Making news: type technologies in transition in newspapers across the world. [Show/Exhibition]
  • Ross, F. and Singh, V. (2012) From hot-metal to OpenType: the type design process for world scripts. [Show/Exhibition]
  • Ross, F. and Singh, V. (eds.) (2012) Non-Latin scripts: from metal to digital type. St Bride Library, London, pp160. ISBN 9780950416182


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