His Little Worlds

Shubho / December 6th, 2011

Alvin Eisenman was a key figure in the development of graphic design as a discipline and a profession in the 20th century. Apart from being an influential designer himself, the graphic design program he founded & headed in Yale University would bring together such talents in its faculty as Paul Rand, Bradbury Thompson, Joseph Albers & Herbert Matter. It would also in turn produce some outstanding talents who would shape & course design & its directions in the later years of the century.

By 1970s, these young graduates were already creating a world-wide wave. In the much celebrated Montreal Expo ’67, many of these Yale boys made their presence felt. The US pavilion in the Expo was designed by the legendary Ivan Chermayeff & Tom Geismer (both 1955 batch of Yale); the British pavilion was designed by the great Alan Fletcher (Yale, 1958); the Indian pavilion was designed by a very young Indian designer called Benoy Sarkar (Yale, 1966).

Indian Airlines; Benoy Sarkar

Electronics Corporation of India; Benoy Sarkar

Benoy Sarkar, born in Calcutta in 1938, would come back to India and have a major impact on this new & emerging graphic design scene. He was part of the NID faculty for some time. He would design & curate numerous exhibitions in India & abroad. He would also go on to become one of the most refined of brand identity designers of a generation comprised of the likes RK Joshi, Sudarshan Dheer & Yeshwant Chaudhary, to name a few. A young nation with its new necessities & demands, an emerging corporate sector & changing social dynamics, not to mention a growing media & advertising industry, graphic design plays a big role in shaping new definitions & relations: the stage was ideally set for these young designers to perform. Benoy Sarkar would go on to design many of the most iconic & memorable identities & logos for both private & public sector organizations.

Gallery of Industrial Design; Benoy Sarkar

The logos, symbols & trademarks designed by Benoy Sarkar had a most striking simplicity found very rarely. Best logos are always little self-complete worlds with their own laws that at once deny & claim participation in the relations of meaning. Imbued with the modernist-minimalist aesthetics inherited from his mentor Paul Rand, his logos are neatly crafted ideograms, simple isotypes that are tiny little worlds, usually trimmed down to their barest expressive logic, on the threshold of pure form and language—a delicate balance—with always a surprising curve or a studied offset or a strategic absence: but never too loud, never too complex.

IFFI; Benoy Sarkar

Conference on Non-Aligned News Pool; Benoy Sarkar

Madhya Pradesh Fisheries; Benoy Sarkar

National Industries Fair; Benoy Sarkar

Delhi Transport Corporation; Benoy Sarkar

Not many newspapers & journals are expected to print obituaries of graphic designers: some months ago, Benoy Sarkar passed away with some fifty odd years of design wisdom with him. In his time his work was celebrated internationally, won numerous awards, & his designs were regularly published & discussed in the leading design journals, which used to be the only place where designers’ names ever occurred in the vicinity of their creations.

Links & Images:

01. Benoy Sarkar
02. Mot Indien, Lund, Sweden, 1987
03. Typografische Monatsblatter, 1969
04. Modern Publicity, 1973-82
05. Form+Communication
06. Graqphic Design Publications by Kodansha
07. Ibou
08. Empire State Building, 1985
09. Trademarks and Symbols of the World
10. Sundarvan Exhibit in Thailand, 1966
11. Frankfurt Book Fair, 2006

© Rarh Design Studio, 2011


6 Responses to “His Little Worlds” more

jas patel / 07 Dec 2011

good post. Can anybody tell me who designed the state bank logo n the doordarshan?

Shubho / 07 Dec 2011

Thanks, JP. SBI: Shekhar Kamat, and DD: Debashis Bhattacharya. But more people may have been involved...

Kamal / 12 Dec 2011

sharing :)

jas patel / 20 Dec 2011

thanx :D :D how 'bout 1 on best indian logos?

Mira Sarkar / 18 Jul 2012

I am Benoy's wife. Thankyou for this web on Benoy's work. I wonder from where you gathered all the information. I have made a blog of all most all of his work at benoymirasarkar@wordpress.com.

Shubho / 19 Jul 2012

@Mrs. Sarkar: I am so happy that you found this post, and left your comments! Your blog is a fine initiative: the works are, as usual, brilliant. I shall add this link at the bottom of my post above, so readers can see more of his works, especially the exhibition designs which I didn't cover here; truly inspiring...