Celebrating India and its families

Car stickers

On a sabbatical from work, automotive design engineer Cherian Kunnath ended up travelling rather aimlessly throughout India. And through these journeys he would be fascinated by the stickers at the back of cars and trucks.

“The sheer diversity of the messaging and amount of personalisation was something which was unique to India. While the aesthetics were sometimes suspect, the sheer enthusiasm of automobile owners in India was amazing,” he says.

This fascination stayed with him, and even in his city, Bengaluru, he would spend hours staring at the back of the cars in front of him while stuck in traffic, hoping for something to brighten up his mood. Finally, this led to the idea behind the ‘Indian Family Sticker’, a platform for customers to build their own unique family and flaunt it on the back of their cars.

Launched in July 2015, the site has a set of quirky stick figure avatars for each member of the family. These families include Malayali, Kodava, Kannadiga, Bengali and Punjabi among others, which come complete with grandparents, children and even pets.

“The idea was to have a laugh about these folks through stickers at the back of cars and bikes. Our characters are built after careful research, and our design team has a clear brief to live the life of our character as far as possible. Our customers love the fact that there are so many quirks in our characters which only they would recognise,” he tells Metrolife on email.

But then, how do you steer clear from cultural stereotyping? “When you’re trying to represent a community with visual references there is stereotype to an extent. We are careful to pin point only what we see as positive and inoffensive traits from each region. Hence, we take the ‘insider view’; for example we would look at how a Malayali sees himself rather than how a north Indian would see a Malayali. This is a crucial difference which is not easy to replicate,” he says.

Their catalogue is split into designs based on categories like ‘Where You’re From’ (based on communities) and ‘What You do’ (based on interests and occupations).

The catalogue is large enough to ensure there is a character for every member of the family. In the four months since they started they have added many other characters typical of the Indian cultural milieu like the Malayali footballer ‘Pandhukalli Pappu’, the Marathi cricketer ‘Deadball Damle’, the petrol head ‘Fullspeed Francis’, the fitness couple ‘Deadlift Dhananjaya’ and ‘Pilates Priya’ and the IT duo ‘JQuery Jagdish’ and ‘Python Priya.

The stickers are priced at Rs 99 for a single character sticker, Rs 89 per sticker for the kids, and pets range between Rs 49 to Rs 69. So, a family of four would cost around Rs 376. Orders can be placed on www.TheIndianFamilySticker.com, and are also available on many popular online marketplaces.

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