ILLUMINATING THE ALPHABET: X

This was the first project I did for writer’s association 26. In fact, it was the first project 26 ever did.

The idea was to get 26 writers and 26 graphic designers (randomly) paired up, and for each pair to create a work around one letter of the alphabet.

I thought X would be an ideal choice, given how much there must be to say about it. Well, be careful what you wish for: there turned out to be so much to say, Thomas Manss and I were flummoxed for some time about what to do with it.

The key came when we discovered that X isn’t really a proper letter, in many ways. It stands for other collections of letters, like ks. It became a sort of spectral letter for us, with no form of its own. Instead, it’s made up of its own meanings and associations.

From there came the idea to write ten (X) stories, taken from the history of this remarkable letter, and create the latter out of them.

It was a typographical nightmare, but it worked. (And appeared in the D&AD Annual for its typography.) 

The original poster hung as a huge banner in the space above the British Library café.

It also appeared in the accompanying book, which included a chapter from each pair about the creative process behind their poster. You can get a copy on Amazon.

 

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