Kalapi Gajjar-Bordawekar


Kalapi Gajjar-Bordawekar is a co-founder of Universal Thirst, an Indo-Icelandic typeface design practise. After graduating from the typeface design programme at the University of Reading, Kalapi joined DaltonMaag Ltd.'s London studio as a font engineer working on complex multi-script projects for global brands. His primary interest lies is developing original typeface designs for emerging typographic contexts specific to South Asia along with historical and technological typographic research. He is also a jury member of the Granshan Type Design competition.

In 2016, he joined forces with friend and fellow University of Reading graduate Gunnar Vilhjálmsson to set-up Universal Thirst, a design pratise specialising in developing typefaces for writing systems of the Indian sub-continent. Since its inception, Universal Thirst has taken on bespoke projects for Google, The Gourmand, Frieze Art Fair, DesignMarch, Monotype, and Falcon Enamelware and they are scheduled to open their retail font library in the fall of 2019. Kalapi's other interests include long-distance cycling and collecting typographic ephemera. He lives and works in Bangalore, India.


BITS9 Conference
Gunnar Vilhjálmsson and Kalapi Gajjar
October 12, 2019
Late afternoon Session
3:30pm - 5:00pm
at Grand Ballroom Fl.2, Le Meridien Chiang Mai

“The universal thirst for South Asian typefaces”

In the early stages of setting up Universal Thirst, its founders stumbled across a 1937 type specimen from the Swadesi foundry in Madras. In it, the foundry director expressed his concern about the lack of well-designed font families, saying there was a “universal thirst” for high quality Indian and Latin typefaces that could be combined in a harmonious way.

This need hasn’t gone away, and there are still only a few quality typefaces that support the different South Asian writing systems - and even fewer that work well together. It’s Universal Thirst’s mission to change this.