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Shreya Arora

International Mother Language Day

Helpfulness has always been core to Google. Its products like Translate and Lens help democratise the internet every day, so users can access information in their regional languages. With the goal to help create a multilingual internet, it was important for Google to show up on International Mother Language Day - a day that stands for inclusivity and linguistic diversity. Thus, we decided to speak the language of emotions. We brought alive 12 words in 12 different Indian languages that are too unique to be translated.

Design Decisions: 

We chose 12 unique words whose emotions go beyond literal translation, like the Telugu word "haayi" or the Punjabi word "gedi" among others. We got their regional scripts using Gboard and illustrated their meanings within the letters, making this an exercise in visual thinking. To make sure that the characters etched are not seen as caricatures, they weren’t skewed towards any particular skin colour, age or gender. This helped us celebrate cultural nuances, instead of appropriating them.

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Step 1: How it started

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Step 2

Step 3

Step 4: How it ended

The End Product: 

Even though this was a very illustration heavy project, the execution was completed over a period of five days, with some artworks going through 5-7 rounds of client feedback. I had the rare opportunity to art direct and illustrate a commercial project of this scale by myself, and with my love for typography and vectors, I could not have enjoyed the process more.

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Marathi: Jhanjhanita

Spicy, piquant, usually used to describe food.

Kannada: Impu

Melodious, sweet.

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Tamil: Mokkai

A dad joke, something lame that falls flat.

Telugu: Haayi

Peace, contentment.

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Punjabi: Gedi

A leisurely stroll or drive.

Hindi: Rimjhim

The soft pitter-patter of raindrops.

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Bengali: Adda

A long conversation had with friends, usually over tea.

Odia: Dhain Kiri Kiri

To rush, go super fast.

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Gujarati: Fudardi

A game where two people hold hands and spin as fast as they can.

Urdu: Khairiyat

Both a question and answer, that asks as well as means well-being

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Assamese: Saaliya

Awesome, amazing, kick-ass.

Malayalam: Adipoli

Also awesome, amazing, kick-ass. (I probably wasn't supposed to have favourites, but this totally was mine.)


Copy: Leena Gupta, Malvika Thirani

Account Management: Abhishek

Art: Shreya Arora

Creative Direction: Binaifer Dulani

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