By Spike Milligan...

Why Spike Milligan's The ABC?

The inspiration for this project came from old printers letter blocks which you often find for sale in Greenwich Antique's Market. Looking at these blocks reinforces the variety and character of different fonts.

Thinking about these characters reminded me of Spike Milligan's poem The ABC(Milligan, 1968). I first read this poem as a child, and can recite most of it to this day! In the same way as the printers blocks provide a visual reminder of the wonderful character of different fonts, so Milligan's words also bring them to life, and, a project about typography, focusing on the the letters of the alphabet seemed quite fitting.

Design Process

I began by reading and re-reading the poem time and again, really thinking about the character of each of the letters of the alphabet. I noted my thoughts on the character of each letter, and thought about the type of font and colour which best expressed their character (A and H for example seem old and grumpy, J appears in a rush, X and Y feel young and naive).

I decided to try and match my font criteria using typical PC an Mac fonts. This was partly due to my desire to be creative within limited means, but also to not have a lenghtly visit to what is like a sweet shop to me!

I then did a mock up of the typography project pages in Illustrator using a grid system. I find I need this to help me do the maths needed to make a flexible/fluid design. This part of the project took the most time, with many revisits to Ethan Marcotte's wonderful A book apart: Responsive Design (2011), due to my mathmatical ability or lack thereof.

Reflections on the project

I thoroughly enjoyed this project. I had wanted the time over the Xmas break to further practice my skills and deepen my knowledge. The project enabled me to think much further about the character of fonts, the use of colour and space. I also used this and the Web Design re-design assignment to further practice using Photoshop, Illustrator and of course html5 and CSS.

Reference list

  • Marcotte, E. (2011) Responsive Web Design. New York: A Book Apart.
  • Milligan, S (1968) Silly Verse for Kids Harmondsworth: Puffin.
  • Spike Milligan (2014) Spike Milligan 1918-2002 tribute to a comedy legend Available at: (Accessed at 20 December 2014)
  • Wikipedia (2014) Spike MilliganAvailable at: (Accessed 20 December 2014)