Roger That: phonetic alphabet in pictures

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The Independent Culture

The visual interpretation of the alphabet should be simple enough. What better way to visualise the letter 'a' than by thinking typographically, after all. But three design studios have decided to reinvent the alphabetical wheel by imagining what written letters would look like based on their phonetic versions: Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and so on.

The phonetic system, which was developed in 1932 to ensure clarity of communication over radio for the aviation industry, is rather whimsical if you consider it properly. Words like Zulu, Foxtrot, Tango and Yankee are deliciously archaic and do indeed evoke a more pictorial idea of the letters they represent.

Designs by boutique studios Eat Sleep Work/Play, Inventory Studio and Julia will be exhibited at the Kemistry Gallery in London this week. The 26 posters which take you through the entire alphabet were previously exhibited at the Rocket Gallery in Tokyo as part of UK OK!, but have been specially reprinted in for the UK show.

Click on the image for a picture preview

'Roger That The Phonetic Spelling Alphabet' is at the Kemistry Gallery, London 24t March until16 April 2011