It was in one of these studios in the ’70s where eight graphic design students created the identity for Doordarshan. Devashis Bhattacharyya drew a circle for the eye and created two bulbous curves around it, depicting “the yin and the yang.” The importance of the mark was not lost on him. “The challenge with this project was to communicate the idea of television before half the country had even seen the machine,” Bhattacharyya said in a 2017 interview. “The eye alone doesn’t make sense. You don’t just see, you also hear television. The interlocking of the curves and the space between them is about getting information and transmitting it.”
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi picked Bhattacharyya’s work from the 14 designs sent to her by NID. Mistry later animated the symbol by making copies of Bhattacharyya’s design and shooting them with a camera, rotating the image until it formed the final symbol. The animation was accompanied by music composed by Pandit Ravi Shankar. According to Vikas Satwalekar, the “DD eye” was the first classroom project that NID sold to a client.
Through its early projects in the late ’60s and ’70s, NID set the stage for modern Indian graphic design, and crafted its own visual language. In 1967, the Indian Airlines Corporation commissioned NID to design its visual identity. At the time, flying was considered a revolutionary technology in India, and the resulting logo needed to encapsulate that. The Yale-educated graphic designer Benoy Sarkar started experimenting with the letters IA, while Vyas worked on the color scheme. Gopinath Rao, one of Sarkar’s students, remembers the maestro sketching innumerable iterations of the lettering. “He would put the bars in combination, one with a slope, and look at it for hours as if it had a life of its own. Then he would come and ask us, ‘Hey, what do you think? Does it look like an IA?’ With great hesitation, we would say, ‘No!’ and he would go and work on it again.”
Never one to call it quits, NID continued to work on the project in the form of a study program and developed an identity manual together with Ivan Chermayeff