I'm a graphic designer and writer in Northern Ireland. Welcome to my blog.

The alphabet, but not as we know it…

alphabet light writing

The alphabet in light writing, found on Nir Tober’s Flickr.

alphabet hair

The hairy Futura typeface, found on Behance.

alphabet human

Human crafted typeface, found on Hijack Your Life (link removed, no longer working) via Brand Flakes for Breakfast.

alphabet in the sky

Type in the sky alphabet, from looking up through the gaps in buildings, found on Slanted via Noisy Decent Graphics.

alphabet shutters

Eine’s East End of London shopfront shutter letters, found on Dave Gorman’s Flickr pages.

alphabet sign language

Sign language alphabet, created from match books (larger version of the sign language alphabet). Found on C71123, after a lot of “folding, gluing, and holding until dry.”

alphabet life objects photo

The Alphabet Photo Gallery by Abba Richman at pbase.com (link removed, no longer working).

alphabet photos

Inspired by Abba Richman’s collection, prior to this, Thomas Fredriksen created his own alphabet photo collection on pbase.com (broken link removed).

If light writing is your thing, here’s a post with some light writing YouTube videos.

My second book on Amazon

Possibly related posts

55 comments about “The alphabet, but not as we know it…”

  1. Wow…
    those are incredible!

    I wonder how long it took the guy to find all those building shapes…

  2. Some of those look like quite the undertaking. I really like Abba Richman’s.

  3. Nice post! I looked at your list of “alpha-pics” several times and each time I found something new. My question is…how did you manage to find all of the pictures?

  4. It is amazing what can be used (people) to make an artistic Alphabet.

    Like the typefaces – and always, the site!

  5. The hair one… ewww. The matchbooks are cute.

  6. Wow, those are beautiful; however, the funniest thing is that the hair type I find the most exquisite out of the bunch you selected, but the most repulsive at the same time.

    A friend of mine has a type exercise with organic material, you should check out:
    http://danielkoppich.com/scat.html

    Keep up the great posts!

  7. The Swiss_Mouse doesn’t believe this is the same thing as what he heard on NPR. A couple created an “alphabet” game for their children, find letters in their everyday life (trees, clouds, etc) and they photographed them.

    They gave away some collections as gifts and suddenly, boom. Demand was huge and now they make sweet cheddar publishing these books.

    Perhaps the Swiss_Mouse should start a similar project with cheese!

  8. I really like the matchbook sign language one. I remember John sharing the sky one on Redsil a while ago, before he got so busy with iLT. And I’d have to agree with Randa about the hair one. Ew.

    The people one reminds me of Love Letters (warning: nudity, artistic and tasteful, but still nudity. And now I’ll probably have to be fished out of the spam bucket.)

  9. Some would call it the fruit of life.

    Great list, David.

  10. Brilliant !!!

  11. I really liked the photo abc, very stylish!!

  12. I am stunned. Really beautiful.

  13. Brian, the sky through buildings in particular is superb. I’d like to know how long it took (and if they’re all legit).

    Karly, I agree. Abba’s clearly very talented. Excellent shots.

    Tim, I’d been bookmarking these for a while. When I’m clicking through my feed reader, and see something I like, I’ll bookmark it as a ‘possible blog post’. It just happens that there have been quite a few of these in circulation recently.

    Randa, it is a bit “eww,” but very imaginative.

    LCD, I’ll check your friend’s site out. Cheers.

    Swiss Mouse, looking forward to a similar cheese project from you. I’d be happy to feature it.

    Lauren, I hadn’t seen those ones. Thanks. John was publishing some great posts on Redsil. I wonder what he’ll do with it now his focus has switched.

    Off-topic, if you’ve had any previous comments caught in the spam bucket, do let me know, as I tend to check it less and less these days (currently about 5,000 spam messages in the folder).

  14. Wow, building shapes are awesome. This is just totally different way how to look at things. Inspiring!!!!

  15. Whoa… Incredibly amazing!!

  16. Okay, I was impressed at all of them, but my jaw dropped at the sign language out of match books. The amount of work . . . wowzer!

  17. A few years back, I taught a “graphic design” class to none designers at a youth center. Our first project was a Alphabet scavenger hunt. I thought it was pretty clever at the time. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Really interesting pieces and nice to be able to have this to refer to, should I do the project with students again.

  18. amazing stuff
    i particularly like the skycraper ones.. whether authentic or not.. it sure did require some imagination to come up with…

  19. inaudible, that scavenger hunt is a great idea for an introductory student project. If I ever go back to teaching I’ll keep that one in mind.

    Thanks for everyone else’s comments.

  20. Really nice collection showing just how amazingly creative some people are. Thanks.

  21. wow! Really good

  22. Ha ha, they are brilliant. The hair is grotesque in an interesting way. Also like the people on the beach. I admire their perserverance because it looks like a cold Irish or British beach.

  23. The hairy typeface is gross, dude!
    I really like Abba’s shots, very creative. I wonder if Abba interested in creating alphabet letters from trees. That’s one hell of a global issue nowadays.

  24. I love the “The alphabet in light writing”, glowing and glowing in the dark…
    perhaps you can start another blog meme about this one…or I don’t know..anyone??? ;D

  25. It’s really a great Creativity there, David! I bet it’s another form of art of alphabetic creation. :)

  26. Amazing collection david! I absolutely love the light writing! It’s a fantastic concept, so out of the box and very inspirational.

  27. Jennifer, I can picture those people on the beach, on the north coast of Ireland, or at Portobello just down the road. Fair play.

    Didik, it does look a little like something from the plug hole, but it’s pretty unique.

    Kukuh, go for it. I especially like the light-writing ‘O’ and ‘T’.

    Ken, Grace, Josh, Cruz, thanks for dropping by.

  28. That’s an incredible collection David. The architectural photography in particular is astounding. That truly shows people with an eye for art around them. :)

  29. Tell me about it, Michael.

    The ‘looking up’ series is fantastic. My favourite would come from either that one, or the light writing one, though it isn’t easy deciding.

  30. Awesome creative pics. My favorite is the light writing one. The hairy alphabets are hilarious, but a little disgusting.

  31. Que bueno algo muy divertido y creativo lo tuyo, la verda me agrada mucho, tiene mucha onda, segui asi!

  32. Loving the pics, David.

    Just to add another to the list, remembered blogging this http://t4w.blogs.com/spinningaround/2007/07/graffiti-with-l.html post with some fab light graffiti lettering (and some random super-cute characters). Shame that I can’t post the piccie here and have to link to it – apologies for that!

    The photography alphabet of the sky framed by buildings is just lovely – sort of thing that makes you want to get your camera out and have a go yourself.

  33. Hi James,

    Here’s the image that I think you’re referring to. Thanks for mentioning it:

  34. That would be the fella – great shot, I always thought.

  35. Hi! I really love your blogs and information. I am interested in majoring in graphic design, and I was on a quest to find awesome blogs and here it is! Oh, just so you know, I’m pinging this post :)

  36. awesome, i had seen the buildings one a while back and thought it was incredibly creative. I stumbled onto your blog today, and I love it I already see a ton of interesting articles, great job, i’ll be around for sure.

  37. Cindy, thanks for the ping. I’m glad there’s something of interest for you here.

    Ed, great of you to stick around a while. Sadly, my domain name was stolen when I was on holiday, but my site is now online at http://www.davidairey.co.uk. I hope you receive this notification.

  38. What amazing alphabets!!! I’ve got a free software program I’ve worked on for a few years called PROJECTalphabet.com (it lets people make their own, using their own pics and captions) this is right up my alley. Thanks! – Jane

  39. I loved it!! awesome stuff very creative. I am doing an assignment on creative (not the ordinary) 3D typography if anyone has seen work that you recommend please tell me

  40. I just happened upon your site and those pictures are fantastic! I am going to share them with my friends for sure.

  41. I just found your blog and have been going through your great posts on your photography finds…this alphabet one is great! I love the creativity.

    That skyscraper/sky one is amazing!

  42. Stunning! Delicious-ed!

  43. hi,
    i know how 2 create the drawing with light alphabet (edit shutter speed)
    but i was just wondering.
    could anybody recommend the best light source 2 recreate written pictures my self fo my photography coursework (ie. torces, lighters etc.) many thanks

  44. Very cool
    Very Very Cool

  45. Abba Richman’s and the type in the sky typefaces are both very clever and creative. I also quite like the hairy one!

  46. Wow! Hmmm… would it be too weird to use photos of this nature to spell words on the walls of my home?

    Definitely inspiration for an upcoming project! Thanks so much!

  47. OK the hairy one freaked me out. But neat!

  48. This post reminded me of the calendar project currently featured on the photojojo newsletter. A great use of clips and creativity for a personalized monthly calendar.

  49. the architectural details reminds me of an exercise from college for a typography and logo design. thanks for the nice collection

  50. Very cool! I really like the poi alphabet!

  51. My current university project is about the A-Z of Graphic Language. These alphabet pics are great and such beautifully created. Very inspirational. I blogged about it on my own website.

  52. amazing . im actually doing this kind of thing for my photography project

  53. This is so cool. On a recent trip to my uncle’s house(who has taken in a exchange student) I became familiar with the nature alphabet and started doing everyones names. I love the creativeness behind all of this work.

  54. Awesome stuff.

    I liked “the hairy Futura typeface.”

    You got some great stuff here. Need to check out your more blog often.

  55. I’ve always been inspired by these alphabets… I made one of my own photographing parts of bicycles, called Alphabike! http://mollymcleod.com/projects/alphabike/

Anything to add?

Comments may be edited or deleted if I don't like the cut of your jib, but that's quite unlikely.