iABC

July 5, 2011

The idea: Look at the history, shape and sound pattern of each letter, sum it up in 140 characters, and collect a beautiful specimen for each letter.

It started with a random tweet in December 2010 — “Do you have a favorite font for every letter?” — and turned into an surprising back-and-forth between a hobby kabbalist (me), and a real type professor (Indra). Here is round one:

Capital A. Typeface: Phosphat A is the mother. It’s the metaphysical Bull ∀ leaping from beyond into existence (beth).

 

Capital B. Typeface: Bandstand B is (A the mother’s) breast, the first contact with reality.

 

Capital C. Typeface: Salome C: the camel (gimel) carrying the bull (A) into existence (B) — through the door (D): sophisticated, classy, and supernaturally strong.

 

Capital D. Typeface: Fette Fraktur D: as in Daleth — originally both a poor man & a door — elastic & tense: a bow. An empty pocket, dangerously hungry. Things are getting real from here.

 

Capital E. Typeface: Fresco E: the fork of the Beelzebub. Enters through the eye causing Evil, ending in headache, emptiness, Ekel.

 

Capital F. Typeface: Miedinger F: Clearly a fleshy fat phallus. A fucking machine gun.

 

Capital G. Typeface: FF Schulschrift G is a grown up C, conscious 7th letter, sensible & forgiving, great without pretension. The grandmother.

 

Capital H. Typeface: Zag Drops Thin H: pompous, self-important, empty. Full of air, taking its space, imposing itself. Claiming territory. A construct, a fence. Sigh

 

Capital I. Typeface: Zanzibar I is the stinging pain from a full-on fist punch (letter #9) coming from the legs with a straight arm right into your face.

 

Capital H. Typeface: Kismet J: ironic I. Connecting (i = splitting) in words — ending in numerals. Italy invented it — its alphabet rejects it — embraced by GJermans.

 

Capital k. Typeface: Quirinus Bold K is the hand. It’s the letter that grabs you, draws you to itself, bites, chews, swallows, and digests you. Kraft.

 

Capital L. Typeface: Vendetta OT L is the lovely shepherd’s staff, while he plays the flute or the lyre, with his back against the tree.

 

Capital H. Typeface: Aniuk M: Forma est omen! M: Marking the 1st middle of the ABC; the 1st sound we speak (before A), and end of the physical half of the ABC.

 

Capital N. Typeface: Farnham N: They say: ‘N’ pictured a water wave. They say: it’s the original M. No! — But ‘No’ is the central clock wheel of our mind [νοῦς]…

 

Capital O. Typeface: Futura ND O: Circles are soft and perfect. So it might be astonishing — but it’s not a coincidence that N is followed by O before P. Why? See P.

 

Capital P. Typeface: Parsnip P: Comical uncle Paul with his uncle hat & Popeye pipe, sticking out his tongue. Let’s not fool ourselves, penises are ridiculous.

 

Capital P. Typeface: Parsnip Q is the brain. And it’s the Queen of letters.

 

Capital R. Typeface: Fran Tigue R is the toRso, the pRofile, it adds dRive and chaRacter. Acc to Plato the tongue is ‘least static and most vibrant’ pronouncing it.

 

Capital S. Typeface: Pollen S is the tooth, the Snake — smart and agile — evil at times — most beautiful — most difficult — it puts a spell on every word it sneaks into.

 

Capital T. Typeface: Berthold Caslon T: Dumb and unpretentious like Atlas, T is the most stable and unstable. It gives structure and proves to be very powerful in pairs.

 

Capital U. Typeface: Museo U: the belly, the Unterleib. Intuitive, sensitive, deep, powerful, slow. Looks like an ABC-Urelement, but it’s not: It’s a deeper V.

 

Capital V. Typeface: Aquila V like Venus, vagina, vulva, literally spreads its legs. Unlike F, it’s not clearly obscene — but it’s rarely as innocent as it acts.

 

Capital W. Typeface: Bellwether Antique W’s wild magic turns everything upside down. The wicked witch of the alphabet.

 

Capital X. Typeface: Alpha Bloc X = “the thing.” Acting like the unknown by definition, it makes people watch, listen, think, and speculate.

 

Capital Y. Typeface: Bell Y is the champagne glass among the letters. The classiest sister in the (f)uvwy family.

 

Capital Z. Typeface: Stilla EF Z: As the last sword stroke, it took some time for Z to defy O and T to become the guardian of the ultimate alphabetic void beyond.

Make sure you don’t miss Indra’s full iABC collection.

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