The 26 letters of the Roman alphabet operate almost subconsciously once ingrained in young minds. The resulting familiarity proves invaluable in life, but also makes it difficult to step back and examine letters as standalone objects. In "Letter by Letter", designer/calligrapher/artist Laurent Pflughaupt aims to do just that with an exhaustive overview of each letter in the alphabet.
He begins with a historical look at the creation of early alphabets, starting with ancient hieroglyphics and proceeding to our current Latin-based system. Next, he takes a formal analysis of their physical structure using base-level observations while regarding letters as simple combinations of straight and curved lines. The third and final section occupies the bulk of the book. As the subtitle suggests, Pflughaupt looks at each letter alphabetically, tracing their evolution and noting their acute significance in various cultures. He borrows from many different fields, looking at structure through the lens of paleography, phonetics and graphic design. (Note below variations on the modern "Q" and "R.") Though necessarily rudimentary at times, "Letter by Letter" is an exemplary reference for those interested in typography or language in general.
"Letter by Letter" will be available through Amazon.