Seeing the Alphabet Differently
By Colleen Ellis
(Mark Batty Publisher, Hardcover, 9780981960043, 64pp.)
Publication Date: February 23, 2010
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ABCing: Seeing the Alphabet Differently is a primer to seeing and understanding the visual world. From abstract to zeitgeist, the book uses the Latin alphabet to introduce ways of visualizing, thinking and talking about art and design. Each illustration is created using only the negative shapes of a given letter. It is not the actual letterforms from which these new perspectives take shape, but the spaces around them. The shapes are rotated and resized; they are not duplicated, mirrored or otherwise altered. Therefore the illustrations maintain their visual connection to the original letterform. The shapes are then composed as a visual translation of a given word's meaning, creating visual and conceptual connections between the letter, the word and the surrounding space. The result is a mixture of philosophy, poetry and art.
The inspiration behind the book is to spur new and alternative approaches to how viewers look at an image, shifting the focus from the subject – the letter – to the surrounding space. While the words used to illustrate these visual translations have been chosen with designers in mind, ABCing not only provides seasoned designers with new ideas but it also serves as an excellent point of entry for students of all ages to learn how new perspectives can provide new meanings.