Bombay Walking

The aim was to show that Sanginfo, a web development agency that’s been running in Bombay for 20 years, had a contemporary edge.

SangInfo Redesign

I started working with Photoshop to make football (soccer) wallpapers. I started making websites because I thought most websites were terrible and my not-very-good would be much better. It also happened to be a nice way to earn some fantastic pocket money through school and college.

I have no formal education in design. I got away with it for the first couple of years by using Verdana and Georgia almost exclusively. I switched to Lucida Grande when I got my Macbook. You could argue that those were intelligent typeface decisions even if I had had a more comprehensive knowledge of type and typography. What can ever beat letterspaced all caps bold Verdana? Exactly... nothing.

With technology becoming more conducive for design intelligence and the realisation that selecting a typeface is only one part of typography, I’ve had a lot of catching up to do in the last couple of years. I still do.

All this made me think that contemporary in web design has a lot to do with interpreting print design, particularly book typography. Print design has evolved for longer and has a rich history that has been archived (obviously!). I thought treating this project more as a graphic design assignment than a web design assignment might make sense.

Bombay Painted Sign

The Walk

I thought there was something very Bombay about Sanginfo. So with one vague line of thinking followed by another very vague line of thinking, I went on a walk around Bombay. I walked from CST to Byculla station one morning and from CST to Navy Nagar (Colaba) and back another morning. The walks were very long. It was summer. It was very hot. The walks were very long.

The visual direction in this project was influenced in parts by some elements of Bombay’s hand painted signage. It seemed like the hip sort of thing to do that I could blog about.


Bombay Colour Xerox Sign Sanginfo Services Ipad Sanginfo Team Ipad Sanginfo Contact Ipad


The font for the headings is called Precipice. I made this font 2 based on some lettering I liked . The ‘Crudas and Bob Lawblaw Engineers’ sign is hilarious in how the sign painters must suddenly have realised ‘there’s no more space, backspace, backspace, backspace, dammit this isn’t working, ok ctrl+z ctrl+z, it’s command you idiot it’s command plus z’. Sign painting must be really difficult. The original lettering, to my eye, is very good. I’d be very proud if I painted something like that. The adaptations in the condensed version are neat, the thin parentheses are nice too, you could say it’s another way of padding the contents of the parentheses.

Bombay Mill Lettering Engineers Lettering Sanginfo Precipice


Ganesh Xerox Center Sanginfo Services Icons

A note on Responsive Design

‘Mobile First’ teaches you to streamline your content and design that content for a small screen first and then adapt that content to bigger screens. I bet this will become the deafult workflow in less than a year’s time. I still haven’t been brave enough to start a project on a mobile sized screen first. In saying that, if you’ve thought about your content, then your website (in most cases) is ready for the addition of these 100 or so lines of magic code! In an other project I worked on after this, the client probably still doesn’t know that her website has responsive styles! It’s a very fun thing to do and I haven’t seen a situation where it doesn’t help. I can’t stress enough how much fun it is to code, I always seem to have this stupid grin. Designing with your text editor is always fun I guess. In saying this, if your site was built without giving any thought to smaller screens and you have an uneconomical page load, reducing its size precedes styling the heavy payload and streamlining your content precedes both.

Bombay Painted Sign

Unpublished, Unpublishable

Photographs and illustrations that didn't make the final cut.

ASCII Homer is screaming because Sanginfo is almost as old as him. I thought evergreen Homer was a good fit for the communication.
One of Dieter Rams's designs for Braun. I'm not sure how or why this came about but I think I quoted Rams when fending off a suggestion to use fancy words in the navigation.
A mock illustration (the style borrowed from the Munich '72 Olympics pictograms) of the very Bombay saying: 'Chalega nahi... Daudega!'