Our association with The Hindu stretches back to 2012 when the Frontline magazine was being relaunched with a new look and feel, and the gifts for the guests and visiting dignitaries was done by us. In the last few years, Anand Prakash has been the official gift partner for The Hindu Conclave and The Hindu Lit For Life literature festival.
The Hindu approached us to design a range of merchandise to be sold from their new venture called The Hindu Lounge. Both the teams brainstormed on the range that could be developed keeping in mind the audience of The Hindu newspaper.
I have always had a fascination with newspapers and in the past, we have done a highly successful crowd-funded design project with newspapers called the 5th of June project. With them, I had a few ideas:
1. Use old and rare photographs from their 140-year-old archives. The team went through hundreds of them and chose the following three: The Madras sepoy from the early 19th century, NCC cadets marching over the Triplicane bridge and The Kasturi Building. These photos were printed by hand on handspun cotton fabric sourced from cooperatives in Andhra Pradesh. The hand printing process until now was only used by us on paper, therefore, we had to do a lot of experimentation on cotton fabric. The difficulty was in getting the picture onto the fabric as it had uneven threads and the weaves had a lot of gaps. After much trial, error and learning our screen printers mastered the art. Below are a few pictures of our experimentation and the final pieces.
2. To work with handmade and recycled paper using their old newspapers. Bundles of old The Hindu newspapers were sent to our village paper making units where they were mixed and embedded with old cotton rags and recycled into sheets of handmade paper. These sheets were then used to make a range of products like cards, envelopes, notepads, paper packs, gift tags, etc.
3. Use old The Hindu newspapers creatively for binding the covers. We used our signature style of colouring and dyeing newsprint to create the below range of blank journals, notepads and pencils.