Journal Page: Inventing an Alphabet

OK, I’m a writer, so I like different alphabets and codes. They also make great additions to a journal page. A new alphabet, a code–it’s a clever journaling piece that adds an easy design element through writing.

Could be someone cheering.

This morning on my walk, I saw interesting writing on the street. My mind went to an interesting story line–what if visitors from another planet came down and took notes on the street on what they saw and learned? What I saw on the street would be a kind of alien journal, written in code. That idea appealed to me, and I took some photos of the “writing.”

Looks like it could be a back-to-back letter.

That idea led to another one: why just use the regular alphabet in your journal? Why not add some new ones? New letter shapes, new designs are all around you. You can use alchemy symbols,  the Greek alphabet, numerical symbols.

A really interesting one is the Mormon Deseret alphabet (below). When you use shapes from an alphabet, you can invent what they mean to you–what the letter shapes are going to mean in your world. You can translate interesting letters into whole words if you like.


My favorite of the street was the one below–this is definitely the answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything:

I made a journal page with a new alphabet. First I collaged various shades of white and cream on the page, then I used a brush and wrote quickly, without hesitation, inventing as I went along. And here is what the journal page looks like with a new alphabet:


And if you want to check out a few more different alphabets, this page should get you started.

Quinn McDonald is a writer, and artist who makes things up as she goes along.

10 thoughts on “Journal Page: Inventing an Alphabet

  1. There was a time that I wrote in the ‘tolkien dwarf runes’… I got so good at it that I could do it ‘from the head’ (without the example)… haaa, your post inspires me to look up how I did it and start using it again – should be fun! Oh, and Tammy did link you up with love today 🙂

    • You must have used it a lot to do it without looking at the example. Interesting, though, here we say that you did it “by heart” or that you “knew it by heart” and I never thought of that difference before. I’m doing Tammy love tomorrow!

  2. Secret writing is a strangely attractive puzzle. Figuring it out means you’re in on the secret, and a secret might be something great! It might not be any more inherently interesting a puzzle than anything else, but the idea that there’s something beneath it, something you can open up and be the one who knows; that makes it compelling. I’ve always been fascinated by codes. Here’s a secret message, encoded in a simple way that’s mildly famous in computing:
    Naavr’f Frperg Zrffntr vf: Or Fher Gb Qevax Lbhe Binygvar!

  3. By the end of the 70´s I was very much into ScoobyDoo and specially The Clue Club. You know where this is going, right? 😉 I had a “secret club” with “secret alphabet” and “secret-a-lot-of-things”. 😀

  4. Quinn, I really like the symbols you’ve developed! I could see bits of these used in collage, or as graffiti-esque art journal marks. Really cool. I’m going to link over in my next link round-up!

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