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Published on in Design

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 a surprising back-and-forth between a hobby kabbalist (me), and a real type professor (Indra). Here is round one:

A_darkmode.gifA is the mother. It’s the metaphysical Bull (?) leaping from beyond into existence (beth).

B_darkmode.gifB is (A the mother’s) breast, the first contact with reality.

C_darkmode.gifC: the camel (gimel) carrying the bull (A) into existence (B)—through the door (D): sophisticated, classy, and supernaturally strong.

D_darkmode.gifD: 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.

E_darkmode.gifE: the fork of the Beelzebub. Enters through the eye causing Evil, ending in headache, emptiness, Ekel.

F_darkmode.gifF: Clearly a fleshy fat phallus. A fucking machine gun.

G_darkmode.gifG is a grown up C, conscious 7th letter, sensible & forgiving, great without pretension. The grandmother.

H_darkmode.gifH: pompous, self-important, empty. Full of air, taking its space, imposing itself. Claiming territory. A construct, a fence. Sigh

I_darkmode.gifI is the stinging pain from a full-on fist punch (letter #9) coming from the legs with a straight arm right into your face.

J_darkmode.gifJ: ironic I. Connecting (I = splitting) in words—ending in numerals. Italy invented it—its alphabet rejects it—embraced by GJermans.

K_darkmode.gifK is the hand. It’s the letter that grabs you, draws you to itself, bites, chews, swallows, and digests you. Kraft.

L_darkmode.gifL is the lovely shepherd’s staff, while he plays the flute or the lyre, with his back against the tree.

M_darkmode.gifM: 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.

N_darkmode.gifN: 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 [????]…

O_darkmode.gifO: 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.

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

Q_darkmode.gifQ is the brain. And it’s the Queen of letters.

R_lightmode.gifR is the toRso, the pRofile, it adds dRive and chaRacter. According to Plato the tongue is “least static and most vibrant” pronouncing it.

S_lightmode.gifS 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.

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

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

V_lightmode.gifV like Venus, vagina, vulva, literally spreads its legs. Unlike F, it’s not clearly obscene—but it’s rarely as innocent as it acts.

W_lightmode.gifW’s wild magic turns everything upside down. The wicked witch of the alphabet.

X_lightmode.gifX = “the thing”. Acting like the unknown by definition, it makes people watch, listen, think, and speculate.

Y_lightmode.gifY is the champagne glass among the letters. The classiest sister in the (f)uvwy family.

Z_lightmode.gifZ: 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.