The Unruly Alphabet

by Fred Showker

The Unruly Alphabet

What if the letter A was an aggressive drunk who got into barroom brawls with his neighbor, B? What if the I instigates J jumping off the roof. How would you illustrate that? This little book came to us during this year's Fonts Fest and we had such a good time with it we decided to include it with our gifts selection.

The Unruly Alphabet

The art and imagination of Aaron McKinney takes the alphabet to a place you would never expect. And, through those pages and illustrations you get a whimsical journey into a weird sort of fantasy that is fun, thought provoking, but not for the weak at heart -- definitely for adults!

what is this J doing

Taking the term "word play" literally, illustrator Aaron McKinney sets the alphabet against a backdrop of rebellious behavior in The Unruly Alphabet. From hurling to undressing, McKinney's bold renderings are darkly comical. By revealing the devilish characters embodied by each letter, they visually showcase human nature.

the M is mauled Author McKinney says:

quoting I've always been interested in etymology ... The way words, a human constructed concept, play off one another to somehow convey thought and expression in our minds fascinates me. With that thought in mind, I decided to strip language down to its most primitive form, the alphabet. To make it interesting, I anthropomorphized each letter with some of humanity's most common, despicable traits. With each letter playing off the next, the end result is the alphabet, a pretty inorganic and deliberate thing made more barbarically human. end quote

I can just about guarantee this book will bring some astonished laughs and conversation. It's probably the most unique interpretation of the alphabet I've ever seen.

The Unruly Alphabet
      Aaron McKinney
      Page Count: 32 ~ Size: 7 x 9 inches ~ Format: Casebound, from Mark Batty Publishing

Aaron McKinney was born in Great Yarmouth, England, in 1977. He was fortunate enough to spend his childhood scattered across the world from Scotland to Indonesia to Egypt. The constant upheaval caused him to turn inward and he began expressing his thoughts through art at a very young age. He attended Ringling College of Art and Design where he received a BFA in Illustration. McKinney's work combines a childlike fixation on funny creatures and odd hybrids with a peculiar, nightmarish monumentalism. McKinney lives and works in Atlanta with his wife and their two children. He’s currently working on a children’s book.

And, thanks for reading

Fred Showker

Don't forget ... we encourage you to share your discoveries with other readers. Just send and email, contribute your own article, join the Design Cafe forums, or follow DTG on Facebook!

27th Anniversary for DTG Magazine