04.12.2009: Alphabet catalog

Typeface and lettering design reproduced in the catalog for Alphabet. Official press release:

Focusing on an ordinary subject that we see each day, often by the hundreds of thousands, Alphabet presents 26 letters as more than just shapes for conveying information. The 51 artists and designers in this show conceive and interpret the alphabet in surprising and inventive ways, ranging from graceful and polished to witty and unconventional. The 63 alphabets featured in Alphabet were created by artists in North America, Europe, and Asia, and represent work from well-known typographers and designers as well as rising artists and design students.

The alphabets in the exhibition reflect a range of thinking about letters that encompasses the conceptual, illustrative, typographic, and beyond. Some of the artists have created their alphabets from a variety of non-traditional media or found objects, while others render their forms with pen and ink in obsessive detail. By presenting each alphabet removed from the context of words and typography, we focus on these 26 shapes as forms unto themselves rather than just the building blocks of words. The alphabets in the exhibition (all received through an open call) are shown dissected into their base elements–A through Z–freeing the artists and designers from the confines of legibility. At the same time, they are challenged to expand the experiment (usually created only to form a single word or image) into a complete system that goes beyond a short headline, the realm to which such experimentation is usually relegated.

Alphabet opened in Baltimore in conjunction with the city’s 2005 Artscape festival, and is traveling nationally through 2009. Alphabet was curated by Post Typography and organized by Artscape.