Primer Design Primer

Starting today and continuing into perpetuity, from time to time I will present different primary school primers from various times and numerous places. These artifacts are the formation of a collection that will evolve as the materials accumulate. But the rationale for their assembly is to see how, over time, language is taught to young and old. What are the essential principles and how effectively – and with what cultural, social and political baggage – are these books and booklets conceived and produced.

The first set are from India and, curiously, at times tend to ignore innate cultural distinctions in favor of Western ideas. (If any of you want to contribute to this Primer on Primers, please feel free.)

5 thoughts on “Primer Design Primer

  1. Ruby Kaur

    Since most of our kids nowadays are studying in English medium schools, parents are finding it very difficult to familiarize their children with their mother tongue. The primer is a great way of teaching the regional language. But recently I have come across an interesting application that teaches the correct way to write and pronounce Punjabi alphabets and numbers. Learning this way for children is much more enjoyable as it uses the effective combination of visual appeal as well as sound to teach the language.I strongly recommend having a look at this application for the sheer joy of its experience. Appreciate the sincere effort behind the creation of this app. It is a ‘must have’ for every Punjabi parent. The application is available at

  2. Tyler

    The Urdu is gorgeous, it’s too bad that (coming from someone with a background in Arabic) it’s totally illegible 😛
    Seriously though, I’ve read some interesting stuff about nasta‘līq–it’s the preferred script for Urdu, and has totally separate proportion rules compared to naskh–the script for Arabic. Arabic typography is a world that has been very neglected in the word of graphic design, it’s interesting to see some on Imprint.

  3. farrah

    I could never in my wildest dreams imagine Urdu script in here, or on any such website. I recently bought an Urdu alphabet book for my husband that looks something like the first picture. Extremely nostaligc … how we never grow old and the system of our lives is such that we always remain in touch with our younger selves and memories. Beautiful!

  4. gira

    Wow! I haven’t seen these book in years – I grew up with these! My grandmother used to teach me to read & write Gujurati with them.
    I definitely didn’t expect to see them on Imprint! Love it!! 🙂
    @Lauren – yes there are definitely updated ones that my younger cousins have. I had these in the late 80s, early 90s.
    If you like these check out: “Indian Bazaar: Vintage Indian Graphics”