Huffpost Arts

A Typography Lover's Guide To Finding Unusual Letterforms In Real Life

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Pareidolia is that curious phenomenon in which humans see faces in the most mundane places. Whether it's a cloud formation or a random arrangement of vegetables, some people have a knack for finding the eyes, nose and mouth that aren't really there, conjuring a smile or a frown within configurations of largely inanimate objects.

"Typographic Universe," a new book by Steven Heller and Gail Anderson, proves pareidolia can apply to typefaces too. The 352-page tome makes it its mission to locate and explore the typographical potential of the natural and built world, collecting together image after image of handmade and digitally rendered homages to letterforms.

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Alphabet Truck, PHOTOGRAPHER: Eric Tabuchi CLIENT: Florence Loewy, LOCATION: France

"Building letters out of objects is an ambitious kind of visual punning," the authors write. In pursuit of the best visual puns, they scan the design world, showcasing the talents of artists drawn to spontaneously occurring -- or well-staged -- letters. From alphabetic topiary to typographic trompe-l'œil, the book is a font-lover's best friend. Eric Tabuchi presents the unexpectedly beautiful typography found on the rear side of trucks, while Jonathan Parker mines iPhone Apple Maps searching for aerial shots of an "S" or a "B" hiding in the landscapes of Nevada.

Heller and Anderson will be launching the book at the Powerhouse Arena in Brooklyn on September 16. For a preview of their design bible, check out the images below.

  • Rubber Ring “O”, PHOTOGRAPHER: Xerxes Irani, LOCATION: Scottsdale, AZ
  • Wood, Doorknob, Railtracks & Power Lines, PHOTOGRAPHER: Emily Engleson, LOCATION: New York, NY
  • PHOTOGRAPHER: Dan Page/The Creative Arms ART DIRECTORS: Craig Brooks, Jamie Rankin, LOCATION: London
  • Décor Type, DESIGNER: Claudio Scotto, LOCATION: Naples
  • Shoestring Alphabet, DESIGNER: Pamela Speck/Violet Fox Visuals, LOCATION: Arlington, TX
  • London Alphabet, PHOTOGRAPHER: Dan Page/The Creative Arms ART DIRECTORS: Craig Brooks, Jamie Rankin, LOCATION: London
  • Ampersand Wind Chimes, DESIGNER: Molly McLeod, LOCATION: Amherst, MA
  • ABC Bookcase, DESIGNERS: Eva Alessandrini, Roberto Saporiti, LOCATION: Besnate, Italy
  • Sculptural Net, DESIGNER: Emma Lloyd, LOCATION: Manchester, UK
  • Body Type, DESIGNER: Amandine Alessandra, LOCATION: London
  • Body Alphabet, PHOTOGRAPHERS: Piotr Gajewski Grzegorz Samson, LOCATION: Gdańsk/Wejherowo, Poland

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