alphabet contest: finalists ROUND ONE + voting!

by Grace Bonney

Today I am THRILLED to post the first 10 of our top 30 finalists for the Design Your Own Alphabet contest! I can’t even begin to describe how blown away I was by everyone’s entries. You guys went above and beyond to create amazing alphabets and I am so excited to share the finalists here today. Here’s how the voting will work.

Today I will open voting for the Finalists (Part 1) and it will stay open for one full day, Monday, November 15th, 1pm EST through Tuesday, November 16th, 1pm EST.  Voting will close right as the second group of finalists go up tomorrow. Each group of finalists will have one day fast and furious voting and then, on Thursday at 1pm we’ll announce the Top 3 finalists from the week’s voting and you’ll get to vote one last time to choose their order (1st, 2nd and 3rd). Friday we’ll announce the order of the winners and they’ll receive their prizes: $500 from Veer and $250 each from Design*Sponge for the 2nd and 3rd places.

I’ve previewed the first group of 10 below but you can find more information about each artist and see more of their alphabet designs below, after the jump. When you’ve picked a winner just vote in the poll below! Everyone can vote once so please choose your vote wisely. Congrats to everyone in the first group of finalists! xo, grace


[poll id=”6″]

CLICK HERE to view the full Finalists, Part One lineup after the jump!

Image above: “Sweatpants” by Michéle Brummer-Everett (The little people’s sweat stains form the letters!)

Image above: “Moss” by Ooli

Image above: “Kern Over” by Daniel Wintle (In typography, “Kerning” is the process of adjusting white spacing in a proportional font)

Image above: “Paper” by Jason Carter

Image above: “All Tied Up” by Lindsey Moskowitz

Image above: “Chesthair Grooming” by Matthew Gaustad

Image above: “Loose Knit” by Mireille Dallaire

Image above: “Black Toast” by Ben Parsons

Image above: “Walk Around Naked” by Mark Addison Smith

Image above: “Dog Eared” by Andy Babb

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  • It was really hard to choose just one! Congratulations to everyone, the entries are all amazing… Good luck :)

  • I thought each of these three rounds were supposed to be centered on a similar ‘style’. It doesn’t look like there is a unifying style here.

  • Ooli, I *adore* your font! If you’re reading this, please email me – I’d love to see your other work, or maybe we could collaborate some day? Great job and I wish you the best of luck!

  • Oh. My. Goodness. It’s so hard to vote for just one entry! I can definitely see why you had to open up the contest to more finalists.

  • Bummer I totally missed the deadline. I wish I had seen this sooner I would of submitted the Food Alphabet I made for my son http://www.kitchencorners.com/2010/10/foodbuzz-24×24-abc-of-food.html

    to celebrate him learning how to read.

    ps. the toast dude has my vote.

  • Love “paper”!!!
    Good luck to all the creators.
    I can’t wait to see the rest of the entries!

    post script Ex-skews me. Should we be able to instantly see the results? Does it skew the contest?

  • I like the Food Alphabet!

    And a like a lot of these too – Moss, Knitting, Sweat pants – it’s hard to decide!

  • Yay! Go Ben and Black Toast! I just wanted to point out that Ben didn’t use photoshop and toasted each letter by hand. SKILLS.

  • I love Walk Around Naked, Black Toast, Paper, and Dog Eared best. Moss is sweet, too, though, and Kern over is funny, All Tied Up is sweet. VERY hard to choose, so I’m not telling. This would be a great annual contest!

  • I really wanted to vote, but I can only see the results. Today is Monday, Nov 15 — the dates seems to be wrong. Is voting still open?

    • emily

      the dates were corrected- it’s today through tomorrow ;)

      the voting is indeed open. has someone at your home/computer already voted? it shouldn’t be closed unless your computer’s IP has already voted.


  • The more I look at them, the more I like them! Loose knit, sweat pants, and black toast are my favorites. I like those posted in the comments as well. Great work!

  • I love this project! But could you please post each individual alphabet in equal visual sizes on the first page? I worry that feelings may be biased by size and where our eyes turn to to most. Great idea though! I loved being ablet to vote. And may the best letter win!

  • “Walk Around Naked” is brilliant! Despite their modesty the letterforms are obvious. What a bunch of characters!

  • what about voting on the top ten in terms of vote amount over the three days, then announcing the top 3 winners from that on friday? great contest regardless!

  • moss is BEAUTIFUL. i am in love, as a huge fan of scientific illustration i am swoooooning over ooli’s font. gorgeous!!!

  • Bravo Mireille,
    Pas surprise que tu utilises tes talents ainsi.
    Jens et moi te souhaitons…BONNE CHANCE!!!!!!

  • I have to agree with Kelly on the sizing and presentation of the alphabets. I was definitely swayed by the prominence and position of the choices that appeared before the voting ballot — in fact, I cast my vote before realizing that there were loads of additional images at the end of the post. I thought what’s apparently just a “teaser” sample of a few entries was the entire presentation.

    I love this contest and there are some great submissions, but I think it might have been more fair to present the finalists in a non-linear display (without repeats), and with the ballot the end rather than in the middle.

    ANYWAY. :) Congrats to all the finalists — I wish I had the patience to create an entire alphabet!

  • I may be being a little too particular here, but I’d love to see all the alphabets the same size on the main page, just to be fair to the designers and the voters. Black Toast and Dog Eared are doing the best in the polls, but they are also the largest…coincidence?
    To me, size matters! ;)

    • betsy

      they may be the largest in the preview, but everyone is given equal sizing and spacing in the main body of the post after the jump.


  • I am totally blown away by all of the creativity that went into each of these fonts! It’s going to be a tough choice!

  • Go Ben and your BlackToast!! Ben designed each letter, cut out each letter in foil, and toasted it over bread in the oven to make this by hand… super creative and talented!

  • Ditto what Jeffrey said – fantastic work Grace & D*S ! These are all amazing and creative and I can’t wait to see sets 2 and 3!

  • WALK AROUND NAKED!!! Fantastic concept, so clever, very well-executed. It was a close tie for me between that and Black Toast. Well done!

  • Did you have to complete the whole alphabet? I would have liked to see Dog-eared in completion before I voted.

  • I think the sweat pants font is hilarious and awesome. Maybe not the most universally useful of fonts, but certainly the most entertaining. LOVE!

  • Love them all, but i voted before seeing them enlarged after the jump, so i agree this may slightly affect votes too? x

  • Definitely an unfortunate positioning and size thing influencing the voting. The first two, which also happen to be shown the largest on the voting page, are first and second place. Also, first place is the only one with images of how the font was made, which may seem more “impressive” to voters. Poor little “Moss,” squished in the bottom half, with its short name and small size. As a graphic designer, it is the one I chose.

    A solution could be to not show the names of the fonts before the jump, as the length of the name can determine the size. Just show the first 5 letters of each font before the jump, at equal size, and have the voting after the jump, after showing them all as full alphabets.

  • Why are the totals still changing? Dog-eared was ahead just after 1 pm EST but the totals have since changed with black toast now in the lead. Did you forget to close the poll??

    • Krampus

      The poll was set to close at 1pm but for some reason wordpress didn’t close it. I’ll leave the next two polls open for an extra 40 minutes so all finalists get the same voting time. Black toast and dog eared have gone back and forth in the lead since the beginning, so I’m not surprised to see it being a close race.


  • r u counting the votes that were after 1pm, even tho the 40min wordpress lag was a mistake?? seems u should only tally the votes that were cast before the deadline u specifeid in the voting directions!

    i voted for paper and remeber checking a little after 1 to see who won and seeing dog eared was winning by liek 10 or so votes

    • caroline

      i’m going to go into the poll function to see if i can sep by time. if i can, i’ll fix it and only count the votes before 1pm.


  • Hi Grace, Feels like Florida in 2000! Seems like Word Press left you with hanging chads. Not that this is a matter for the Supreme Court, but if the rules were for a 1 p.m. cutoff today, doesn’t that stand? But if you are accepting after 1 p.m. (and you have a tie), it seems only fair to add a 4th place that also receives $250. Anyone else think that makes sense?

    • laura ann

      the two that are tied will have a run-off tomorrow so people can vote again and i will be sitting by the computer ready to turn it out.

      please note that accidents happen and i will do my best to make sure the voting is as fair as possible for the run-off tomorrow. also, there wasn’t even going to be a 2nd or 3rd place originally so i’m already donating money from design*sponge to honor these additional artists. i appreciate your rallying cry for more money, but i’ve already reached into my own pockets to award additional prizes so i’m afraid i can’t add another place to make up for that. i apologize that the poll didn’t work as it’s worked for years before, but i can’t separate the votes by time so unfortunately i can’t undo what has already been done.

      i emailed both artists tonight to apologize for the glitch and tell them about the tie-breaker tomorrow. that way they’ll have equal time to rally for votes.


  • Dog-Eared is one of the freshest & most casually contemporary typefaces that, as an Advertising Executive, I have seen in a while. It certainly gets my vote.

  • it seems fair to inquire about black toast – were these letterforms created by the artist or were they simply burnt onto toast? pre-existing font or did they create their own alphabet and then apply it to the toast?

  • Mirielle,bonne chance , j’espère que tu vas gagner je te félicite d’être arrivée en final, je suis une amie de ta tante Pauline qui est très fière de tes succès.

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