The Mumbai taxi is a glorious if rickety phenomenon, unique to this city and its people. Found on every kerb and in every parking space, they are on call 24/7. As Mumbaikars, we have innumerable interactions with taxis. Either we travel in them, are stuck behind them or get cut off at a signal by them. As designers however, these taxis have a different context. We see them not only as taxis, but moving graphic installations.
Unlike their counterparts elsewhere, these taxis are not just yellow and black, but almost always a riot of colour. The pastiche of graphics and textures used on the vehicles reflect the cabbies’ individual style. On a deeper level the continued overlay of motifs, embellishments and messages cue the assimilative nature of the city’s visual style and attitude.
Inspired by this phenomenon, the designers at rgd decided to document the taxi graphics across the city, and developed a visual language that provided a crossover between the vernacular and cosmopolitan. The designs showcased, borrow from the street but present themselves as contemporary and global. The Taxi calender broke new ground, and gave rise to an alternative graphic language in the country.