Design Feature > Neil Dantas

19Feb12

In an increasingly cosmopolitan city with an expanding population and widening city limits, how does one capture a sense of identity that has meaning for all?

Exploring such thoughts, I share the work of Neil Dantas (JJ School of Arts, NID). A designer with talent and good intentions who seems to live close to the ground. I enjoyed his work on Mumbai which is a first hand experience of the city. As an old resident, I identify with his graphics and words, said and unsaid.

I am the BEST. Even without a mention of the city, it is quintessentially Mumbai.

The black and yellow taxi cab

Neil shares a verse on it: “Poor li’l Kaali Peeli, It’s Old but not Feeble/It also has CNG/It saw the’93 riots/And braved the July floods/Also failed a terror conspiracy/But instead of medal/and the pomp and show/20 year Old Kaali Peeli/Khaali Peeli went off road/to a scrapyard in Kurla/ripped part by part/Khaali Peeli Mach Mach/For a Kaali Peeli sturdy Cab.

This graphic is made using the grid on the BEST bus tickets.

Neil says: “A visual puzzle combining the image of the iconic bus and the word Kya. This design takes Bombay’s buses as the carriers of the middle class, the unnoticed workers who form the backbone to this city and just anyone and everyone. In colloquial Bombay slang ‘Bus-Kya’ (hindi) means ‘enough’ like ‘What-ya’ (english)”

In the aftermath of a terror attack, everyone wanted an outlet for their feelings, Neil created a space to express it, wear it and share it.

Remembering the staple Indian biscuit - Parle G.

I Love Bombay


Neil says: “The BEST bus is a reference to our colonial past and one of the remnants of the British Raj. If you look carefully, I’ve used the number 786 which is a symbol of good luck in Indian Muslim tradition. By this I want to say that this city is for everyone. The bus thus represents the city. All these elements come together in the text ‘I ♥ Bombay’ which reflects the city’s identity and how, in its very name, it is a divided place.”

No words necessary.

Neil says: “Anyone who comes here from anywhere can call it my Mumbai. It’s everyone’s. Even if you’re of any caste or city or country or planet…feel at home, when you’re here. Call it ‘my Mumbai’.”

Mumbai graphic in Art Deco style. Though a font based on Bombay Gothic, an architectural style that evolved in Bombay, might make this more suited to the city.

Love the way Mumbai is set into the Houndstooth pattern. No connection to the city, added this because it was done well.

Neil Dantas with storage cabinets designed by him.

Neil says: “This piece of furniture is inspired by the BEST bus tickets and the form taken is to express how the tickets are torn by the bus conductors leaving that typical silhouette.”

> Photography by Ankit Mehrotra. Pictures courtesy Neil Dantas. If you’d like to read more about him, there’s more here. If you’d like to see more of Neil Dantas and his work, it can be found on Facebook here.

Via David Joe Thomas

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12 Responses to “Design Feature > Neil Dantas”

  1. Brilliant – being in the travel business I am constantly made aware of how we dont have sovenirs that capture our country. I hope these are available commercially?

  2. I bought the machine on line and finding the coupon and testing it before final payment cost me less than 15 minutes.
    It’s important to carefully read the rules before you proceed to book your rental. The store offers all the top shoe brands under one roof.

  3. 3 Namrata

    Realy nice work!

  4. Anaka, many ppl from Bombay itself have bEEn inspired.
    They also have more funds to produce them, thus go up as a Brand.

    But, there are plenty designers like me in every city
    Perhaps like me they don’t have funds.
    But, my purpose to do so, is
    to inspire those artists / designers to begin…
    And inspire many more in the future~

    • Hi Neil! My forte isn’t really in graphic design, but I love your ideas. And yes, I do agree that designers are everywhere… my comment wasn’t meant to put down Chennai designers, but rather compliment your design sense and express my desire to see some of that in Chennai.

  5. Very cool and full of thought. I feel envious, just like Bhavika… I want to see Chennai inspire a cool line of t-shirts like this!

  6. Intriguing work, love the way you’ve captured modern day India!

  7. This is some amazing work! I’d love to see Delhi inspire something similar :/

  8. Really nice graphics. Also loved the way in which the work has been photographed!


  1. 1 Yeh hai Mumbai meri Jaan!!
  2. 2 Design Feature > Neil Dantas « bits, colors & pieces

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