That alphabet. It’s been around a long time, and I, for one, have some complaints. Don’t you think it’s time for a redesign? I mean, the thing’s not exactly “fresh” anymore, is it?
This looks like two different people designed these letterforms and they weren’t talking to each other. Both the upper and lower case are quite wonderful, but as a pair? What were they thinking? The capital A has a good iconic structure: three strokes and you’re done. I like the way they lean together to form that stable triangular shape, which is reinforced by the crossbar. It’s very strong.
The lowercase a has beautiful curves, and allows for a lot of variation within the shape. It’s feminine, and extremely sexy, but sometimes the bowl causes problems … it has so little space to fit into: half the x-height! This is inconsistent with the other letters in the aphabet and seems a bit out of place. As for that other “a”, no comment.
This is a very nice pair; whoever did this was really thinking about the relationship between the two. I like the way the capital B can have some variation in the proportions from top to bottom. Obviously designed by a man, the ball and stick of the lowercase b is simple and, appropriately, half of the cap B. Talk about male and female! The buxom, pregnant cap together with the excitable lowercase.
Too obviously a pair! This is just lazy design, imho. A curve, and a smaller curve. What’s with that? Put some effort into it!
Another one from the scrapyard of design. The lowercase d is just a ripoff of the b, and it really bothers me the way the cap D is flipped vertically. It’s like someone wanted to emulate the Bb but just didn’t get it.
These may look like they don’t belong together, but I think they’re actually pretty good. The cap E has such good structure and balance, and in a way the lower case e has that same structure, only rounded. One is based on a rectangle, the other on a circle. The eye of the lowercase e has some of the same problems as the a, though, due to that half-x-height thing. Would the cap E look better with another vertical line down the right? I think maybe it would. Something to think about.
The lowercase f is one of my favourites of all the letterforms. I love the hook of the ascender, and the crossbar gives it that little extra oomph. I’m never sure where to put the crossbar though … I guess it can move up and down? Not sure. But the cap F, although obviously related to the lower case f, is too close to the E. If the E had an extra stroke, then the F would stand out more. But still, it seems clumsy and top heavy. I can see what they were trying to do, with the angular version of the lower case, but I just don’t think it’s working.
Two really great letterforms that just don’t go together! Perhaps designed by the same people who did the Aa? Despite my problems with the C, I think the shape is expanded on in an inventive way in the G. I really love the lowercase g with its curved descender, although the typographic form is a baroque excess of unusual hooks and parts. Incredibly difficult to draw or remember what exactly goes where. I just wish these two were a more harmonious pair.
Like the A, the capital H is really strong. It has the same three parts as the A, and is clearly the work of the same designer. I like the balance of the open spaces top and bottom. The lowercase h, however, isn’t doing anything for me. It looks weak, and sortof half-finished. I imagine it being the desperate result of a long night without ideas. It’s the “I just gotta make this deadline” solution.
Puhleez! The capital I without the crossbars top and bottom is either the laziest piece of design in history, or an elegant stroke of modernism. With the crossbars it’s just clunky, boring and awkward. The lowercase i is kind of cute with that little dot, I suppose, but I’m not really buying it. This one should have never made it out of the comp stage.
I honestly think that a different designer saw the i, and improved on it with the lowercase j. Where the i is boring and slightly weird, the addition of a swooping, curved descender turns it into a thing of beauty. The dot is now somehow emphatic rather than silly. This one nailed it. The capital J was probably done afterward, borrowing the hook from the lowercase. But the top is problematic: without the crossbar it looks unbalanced; with it, it looks clunky. This is a design problem worthy of more thought.
Someone had some fun with this one, and I like the results. An excellent pair, both the upper- and lower case have character and—dare i say it?—attitude! Very unique and balanced without resorting to curves. A really excellent design.
What.the fuck.is that? Surely no worse letterforms exist than these two duds—I mean c’mon … two lines and a line? Who designed this, some old fart completely worn out and bereft of ideas? The design rationale must’ve been one helluva snow job. The capital L has that gaping, awkward open space, and the lower case … it’s a line! and it looks like a cap I or a 1 fer god’s sake. How did this get passed?! I’m glad I don’t have any of these in my name.
Speaking of my name, check these out. now those are 2 sweet letterforms. Is it any wonder that a line of “m”s denotes “yummy”? Mmmmm. The cap is unique and strong; balanced, and open in a way that doesn’t interfere with other letterforms. The lower case echoes the sturdiness of the cap, with all feet firmly on the ground, but with those 2 nice curves. I’m so glad my name begins with M!
Well, it’s half the m, and only half as nice. I do like the asymetric diagonal though—it causes problems when you’re learning to write, but it grows on you. The lower-case n is far less interesting. It looks lonely, missing its other half.
I don’t know about this. At least they’re not just straight lines, but they are … just circles. There is beauty and perfection in a circle, but they’re so self-enclosed. I think they need something else … like maybe a tail or something (see Q).
The lowercase p is really nice, especially when you let the descender get really long, but this whole ball and stick thing … c’mon guys, get over it! Given a choice, I prefer the p to the b, but the b did it first. That cap P, though, is just totally not working! It’s so top heavy it looks like it’s going to fall over! This whole letterform needs rethinking.
That’s all the O needed, was a little something, and here it is in the capital Q. One of my all-time favourite letterforms, the Q takes the beauty and simplicity of a circle and builds on it. Too bad this letter is so seldom used; the form is wasted on it. The lowercase q, though … I’m not fooled by that extra bit at the bottom of the descender—this is another ball-and-stick! The last one I hope! This is no match for its elegant capital.
This is another pair where the cap and lowercase have nothing in common and must surely have been designed by separate people. The cap is by a genius; the lowercase by a nincompoop. The capital R takes the best from the B and the K and successfuly merges them together. When the leg is not solidly, firmly on the baseline, it is allowed to swoop below the baseline and become a tail—a form I particularly love. The lowercase r, on the other hand is weak, imbalanced, stubby and awkward. I simply detest it!
This was a great idea that lacks somehow in execution … or rather, it’s just really difficult to maintain a good standard. With a maximum potential for elegance, both the upper and lower case are hard to reproduce as anything other than clumsy and unbalanced by anyone other than trained experts. Try it, make me a good S … it’s hard! In the right hands, it’s a sophisticated character, but horribly open to abuse.
After what I said about the L, you might expect me to come down hard on the T, but where the L lacks balance, the T has it in spades. With its two arms, I find it welcoming and protective. Then move the arms down and shorten them and you’ve got a nice pair, there! The lower case t without a hook is a little Christian for my liking, though I respect its simplicity. The hook gives it an interesting character, and I like it, though it removes it a bit far from the cap.
I have nothing good to say about this lazy piece of rocking shit. Both of them. Probably designed by whoever did the C.
My verdict is out on this. On the one hand, it’s unstable, balancing on that point. Like an upside-down A without the benefit of the crossbar. The shrunken lowercase version gets my obvious scorn. And yet … and yet, there’s something about this that I like. It’s just nice: a nice form. Maybe I’m partial to triangles.
And whatever it is I like about the V translates twofold to the W. Where the V teeters, the W stands solid. The W has the symmetry and pleasing balance of the M, without being a directly inverted version of same. I like it when the strokes cross in the middle too. Too bad more though wasn’t put into the lower case.
Did Paul Rand design this? Is it not perfect? Do you know why illiterates sign their name with an X? Because it’s perfect, that’s why. Two strokes which give the illusion of four. xxxxx, you know i love you.
This is, quite possibly, the best pair in the alphabet. Each, on its own is good … the uppercase based, obviously, on a tree; the lower case a rooted bush, with that most elegant of all descenders. But look at them together! Are they not made for each other? This is design that thinks and understands relationships: I guess it to be the later work of the designer of the Bb and the Mm.
And last, but certainly not least, the Z, with a final flourish, a sword slash (I know!), a signature of completion. The Z has exhuberance and balance … alas, with the lower case z, the alphabet goes out with a bang and a whimper.