Hugo and Joanne at work in Union Square Park, NYC

The story

The Alphabet City® began as a teaching game for a two-year-old boy named Hugo, the son of New York City-based award-winning professional photographer and author Joanne Dugan. The letterforms of The Alphabet CIty® are designed not just for children, but for anyone who is inspired by typography and seeing.

THE ALPHABET CITY®: BOOK ART

 

The images of The Alphabet City® were curated from a vast collection of urban typographic photography, shot for more than a decade in New York City's five boroughs. Many of the images came from handmade signs and markings on now-demolished vintage landmarks and so are a unique archive of NYC's visual history.


The photographs were also the basis of Joanne's best-selling book ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City, and its sequel 123 NYC: A Counting Book of New York City, published by fine-art publisher Harry Abrams and sold in the museum stores at The Museum of Modern Art, The International Center of Photography and The Whitney Museum of American Art, among many others. From design afficionados to children just learning the alphabet, fans find that these images of New York City's written universe inspire them to look more closely at the world around them.


FROM ART FOR SOME TO ART FOR ALL


As a fine artist, Joanne typically creates small, numbered editions of handmade photographs which are part of many international public and private art collections. After creating the images of The Alphabet City® for her son, she was inspired to find a way to share the work with a larger audience than what her handmade editions normally allow. The outcome is art that is accessible to all, both in price and function, but that doesn't compromise aesthetics or quality.


The Alphabet City® believes in socially-conscious business practices. A portion of the company's proceeds will benefit non-profit organizations promoting literacy. Joanne continues her work with schools and other non-profits to promote the idea that learning to see your daily life in a new way will foster innovative learning and creative thinking. Her series of lectures titled "On Seeing What's Right in Front of You" have been presented in many noted educational institutions, including The International Center of Photography in New York City, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.


THE ALPHABET CITY®: ART AND TECHNOLOGY


The Alphabet City® was born after five years of research and development of an innovative printing technique that allows images to appear as if they are painted directly on a wall. The letters are movable and reusable; they can be displayed in infinite combinations and customized for an individual space. They can also be framed. They are as suited to a high-end modernist living room as they are to a creative office space or a baby's nursery. All of the materials used in The Alphabet City® are domestically sourced and locally produced. New editions are currently being developed and will be updated often.




GET A FULL ALPHABET

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

PICK A POPULAR WORD

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 ABC/123 BOOKS

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