Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Alphabet City®? 

The Alphabet City®’s movable, reusable high-quality adhesive graphics transform a blank wall space into a personalized, changeable canvas.  They come in three sizes: 4x4" (sets only), 10x10" and 18x18" and can be purchased separately or in sets. 


The Alphabet City® was inspired by New York City street artists, who use colorful, graphic stickers and wheatpaste posters to send their message. Each letter tells a visual story about New York City and the design diversity of urban life.


The Alphabet City® is a New York City-based company that began as a 'side project' by award-winning professional photographer, author and educator Joanne Dugan. Joanne's book projects are sold at the Museum of Modern Art, The International Center of Photography, The Whitney Museum and The American Museum of Natural History, among others. Her limited edition fine art photographs have been shown in galleries worldwide and are collected internationally. The Alphabet City® was originally curated from a vast collection of urban typography photographs created for Joanne's award-winning books ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City and 123 NYC: A Counting Book of New York City, published by noted fine art publisher Harry Abrams.


Where is the original Alphabet City? 

For resident New Yorkers, the name "Alphabet City" refers to a neighborhood in the Lower East Side/East Village section of the city. The primary avenues in the neighborhood are Avenue A, Avenue B, Avenue C and Avenue D. Historically, it was a central point for many influential immigrant and artistic movements. Joanne, whose studio is nearby, first discovered many of the project's letterforms in this neighborhood and it continues to inspire her.


What literacy organzations will benefit from The Alphabet City?

As an author, educator and active volunteer, Joanne Dugan has contributed to the efforts of many non-profit organzations, including First Book, The American Montessori Society and The United Nations International School, among others.  

What are The Alphabet City®’s letters made of?

All letter graphics are printed with soy-based inks on non-toxic vinyl with a silicone paper liner. The water-based adhesive is alcohol-free. Check to see if the paper liners can be recycled in your town. The decals are produced in the USA and are locally printed at a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Rainforest Alliance certified, wind-powered printing facility.


Once your letter is attached to the wall, remember to take care of the environment. When you are ready to take your letter off the wall, we encourage you to find a creative way to “recycle” it too: reuse it as a book cover, as wrapping paper, or as a shelf liner. The graphic material itself may also be recycled by qualified processing facilities. Please contact us for more information.  



How do I apply The Alphabet City®’s letters?

1. Peel off the paper liner.

2. Place the letter graphic on the wall. There will be an initial adhesion from the static electricity of the material so you can easily position it before pressing down for the final stick. Tip: Start at the top edge and work towards the bottom. (For more precise installations, you may use small pencil marks to help in the alignment process.)

3. Use your hand to smooth it by working from the center of the letter outward. If there are any air bubbles you may smooth them out easily by pressing down with your fingers.



What surfaces can I apply them to?

The Alphabet City®’s letters can be applied to almost any smooth, non-textured surface. Painted matte or gloss drywall, smooth wallpaper, glass, non-textured wood or metal are the ideal surfaces for attaching the adhesive graphics. Be creative: they’ll work on much more than just walls. (Be aware that you should let newly painted walls thoroughly dry for at least 30 days before applying the decals.)

Please do not attach the graphics to the following surfaces: textured walls or wallpaper, brick or concrete, unpainted drywall, outdoor walls, vehicles or any other surface that is rough, textured or porous. Please note that we cannot be responsible for any damage to any walls using our product. If you are in doubt about your surface, please test it first. 


How do I move/remove the Alphabet City®’s letters?

The Alphabet City®’s letters are easy to move and remove. Simply peel back an edge of the graphic and slowly remove it from the wall.  It should not leave any residue. Since the condition of walls varies greatly, if you notice any paint flecking, be ready for some minor touch-ups. 



How do I clean them?

To clean, wipe the entire graphic with a soft, dry cloth to remove dust. 



How long will they stay on the wall?

Taken care of properly, The Alphabet City®’s letters will normally stay on walls for at least two years. Keep them away from direct sunlight and apply them to a smooth, clean surface for best longevity. If you happen to see an edge that comes up because of increased humidity, just smooth it down again with your fingers. The harder you press, the longer it will stay.


Are they movable and reusable?

Yes. You can remove and reposition the Alphabet City®’s letters, but please keep in mind that each time the decal is removed it will decrease some of its adhesiveness. Keep the liner if you plan on removing letters for a longer period of time before reusing or to store them longterm.



Can they be framed?

Yes. Keep the backing material on and pop them right into a frame.



What kind of places can I use them in?

Anywhere!  Here are some of the many places you can use The Alphabet City®’s letters. And remember too, they can stick to many other places besides the walls: cabinets, furniture, mirrors, notebooks and doors are just a start.

Kids’ Bedroom

Living Room


Dorm Room


Dining Room


Artist Studio

Retail Stores









What is your return policy?

The Alphabet City® offers an exchange for any items that are not completely satisfactory. Exchanges are accepted within 14 days of the date of receipt. Product must be returned in unused condition. Please email us using the contact form above for the return address.



What is your shipping procedure?

Orders are packaged and shipped within 7 business days within North America. Express and international shipping is also available on a request basis…please contact us for more information. An email with a tracking number will be sent to you as soon as your order has been shipped so you can track your purchase. 



If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us. We welcome your comments and questions.







Choose a full set to create wallpaper or borders. Make multiple words to fill a wall. Includes six bonus characters per set.   BEST VALUE

>>  buy full alphabet sets


Get inspiration for your own word art installation. Check back often for a changing selection of popular pre-made words.

>>  buy premade words


Get the books that started it: published by noted art publisher Harry Abrams, Joanne Dugan's best-sellers feature the photographs that make up The Alphabet City.

>>  buy books