The signature form of transportation in Mumbai, India, is the iconic black and yellow taxi. Many drivers like to make their taxi stand out by decorating it with personalized touches. But designer Sanket Avlani noticed that the seat covers were fairly standardized and dull. He also recognized that in India, design has limited scope and is not generally used as a medium of communication and social change.
Avlani knew graphic design could create impact and get conversations going, and he had an idea to demonstrate that. His company, Taxi Fabric, turns taxis into story-telling mediums by pairing designers with taxi drivers to create artistic seat covers and interiors.
Some designs tell personal stories; others are fanciful or highlight social problems. The designers are encouraged to find inspiration in their surroundings.
So far, 33 taxis have been outfitted with stories ranging from Indian freedom fighters to Bollywood heroes to road safety, children with special needs and women’s rights. The project provides an opportunity for designers to channel their talents while enhancing the travel experience of commuters every day.
Each design includes a label identifying the designer, the story of the design and contact information. The designs are also featured on the Taxi Fabric website. In addition, Taxi Fabric textiles are now available for multifunctional purposes. For more information, visit www.taxifabric.org.