About the Alphabet for Geniuses

No prodidy's nursery complete without one

The Beholder Alphabet for Geniuses has the inevitable apple, the compulsory umbrella, the unavoidable violin, and the inescapable zebra... but not quite where you expect them.

This is an old project. The alphabet first appeared as a frieze around 1991 (we raised some money for the NSPCC with both the long thin up-on-the-wall version, and some posters). It’s been online since 1995 or thereabouts, but in 2013 was revamped to be more attractive on mobile and tablet devices. The current version is built with Foundation.

The “hidden feature” texts weren’t part of the original project but were added later, for fun. A few of the letters have been changed since the original version; Jiriki became Java. Lemon and Quantum Dynamics were also changed.

The arrangement of maximum-sized squares within the containing rectangle that makes the index slide work is trickier than it looks — thanks to Matthew for the innards of biggest_square_to_fit_n_in_rectangle(n,w,h) in the JavaScript.

If the Alphabet for Geniuses tickles your fancy, then you’ll like Mark Jones’s Politically Incorrect Alphabet too.

Update: Oct-13: Gianna DiBartolomeo’s paper-and-thread alphabet is perhaps a more refined, and more linguistically sophisticated, variation on this theme.