I recently learned of the amazing design extravaganzas that are 'Mumbai taxis' (thanks CR). Seemingly arbitrary graphics, decoration, patterns, and typographic messages adorn primarily the rear end of these taxis, and one can only guess that there is some kind of informal competition going on here among cabbies, within a shared, cultural propensity for bright colour and symbols. One need only look at Bollywood movie posters to see another expression of this predisposition. See my previous post on vintage Bollywood posters. CR explains that these graphics are also intended as a "lure" for customers, and that the tradition started back in the 1970s, with much inspiration for the taxi graphics and type coming from such movie posters.

The medium of black automotive surface is a canvas for gods sitting along side words like "Speed", next to typographic flourishes, logos, flowers and rainbows. Many of the mudflaps alone deserve gallery wall space!

I've never been to Mumbai (never been to India actually) but when I do get there to visit some friends we have there in the year(s) to come, I will definitely get myself to Mumbai to behold these mad, graphic vehicles with my own eyes.







Thanks to all of the photographers whose images I have borrowed here to make this feature.

Top Images, first image: Coleman Higgins, second image: Elizawr, third image: Betta Design

Bottom Images: first image: fredcan, second image: sampo karjalainen, third image: ypdx, forth image: robyn w, fifth image: JF Vincent