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Internal Production > 16.3 Self-Initiated Projects

A is van Os

by Autobahn

A is van Os
Anyone who can read knows the 26 letters of our alphabet. But where do those letters come from? How long do they exist? And who designed them? Autobahn and Bette Westera take you back to the time of our distant ancestors, who made a drawing if they wanted to ‘write’ something. Slowly but surely, their drawings changed into the first letters. If you look closely, you can recognize our current alphabet.
And guess what? A is not for Apple at all, but for Ox! After reading this book you will understand how this came to be. You will also understand why, whenever we send each other emoji’s, we actually do the same as our distant ancestors over 5000 years ago. An educational and special letter book for all ages!
Throughout time, our alphabet has changed quite a lot. It started around 1900 B.C. in the Sinaï dessert. This writing (called Proto-Sinaïtic) was adopted and changed by the neighboring Phoenicians (around 1500 B.C.). The Phoenicians were a nation of sailors and through trade they’ve passed the alphabet on to the Greeks (around 800 B.C.). The Greeks changed the letterforms as well and eventually passed it on to the Romans who finalized the alphabet in the way we still use it today in the Western world.
The initiative for A van Os originated from the work ethos of Autobahn: text is image. Text can be both an illustration and an information carrier. The reader can then decide: “Should I read the text or look at the image?” We can not read a text and look at an image at the same time. Our brain needs to switch rapidly between the left and right hemispheres. Autobahn calls this Comfortable Confusion and plays with this in their designs. When the son of Autobahn partner & designer Rob Stolte started writing letters at the age of four, the decision was made quickly to create a children’s book to show that letters are actually abstract images. Because everyone who learns to write must know where our letters come from. And that A is not for Apple, but for Ox!
– A2 Poster
– Stone cut letterblocks
– 3 free typefaces: Proto-Sinaïtic / Phoenician / Greek
– Animation explaining the project
– Video explaining the project
– Website for ordering the book and download the typefaces
Specifications book
Gottmer Publishers Group
24 x 24 cm / ISBN 978 90 257 6804 1 / NUR 210
Printed in Pantone Reflex Blue & PMS 805
Finished with Gravel Spot UV coating

  • Creative Directors
  • Art Directors
  • Designers Autobahn
  • Illustrators Autobahn
  • Photographers De Monsterkamer / Justina Nekrašaitė
  • Editors Marleen Louter
  • Copywriters Bette Westera
  • Publisher Gottmer Publishers Group
  • Video Niels Mud
  • Webdesign Autobahn
  • Animation Autobahn & Jochem Koopman
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