Illustrating The Indie (Type) Alphabet

Designer Jim Billy Wheeler takes singing the ABCs to an entirely new level of awesome by illustrating a font inspired by indie band names. From Arcade Fire and Little Dragon to Karen O and Hot Chip, Wheeler manages to maintain the spirit of the artist or musical group when creating the letters. Take for instance the white J that becomes Jack White—long, dark hair and fedora to boot! I reached out to Jim to learn about his inspiration for the project. Here is what he had to say:

Where did the idea come from, and how do you choose what bands to feature?

I was thinking of ideas about how to show my favorite bands in a way people would enjoy. I think you picture bands a certain way—in the way that they have branded themselves—and taking them out of their normal existence makes it fun. I’ve tried to keep the drawings as simple as I could, using flat color and maintaining the shape of the letter.

Do you try to illustrate the band based on their music or just on their name alone?

The majority are plays on words.

Which one is your favorite? Why?

L is probably my favorite. I sketched out lots of different dragons, and this was the best way to still keep the L shape.

Have you completed the whole alphabet?

It’s been a rolling project, and I have been doing them in alphabetical order. I still have a couple left to do. I’m not sure what I am going to do for Z. Once all the letters are completed, I will be making a large poster print displaying them all.

Check the alphabet soup of screenshots below to get a better idea of Wheeler’s ingenious font designs. View even more illustrated band-inspired letters at the Jim Billy Wheeler Facebook page.

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Have you created something equally cool as part of an in-house design project? Be sure to submit it to the In-HOWse Design Awards & Competition by May 1.

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