Mapping the Alphabet Topographically

Is it an intriguing sculpture or three-dimensional infographics? As a personal project, New York-based designers Caspar Lam and YuJune Park of Synoptic Office created a topographic map of the English alphabet based on how frequently each letterform was used in words. In an interview with Colossal, Park says that their reference for word frequency was the University of Cambridge Computer Lab. From there, they modeled each letter in Rhino and exported sections of each letter to AutoCad. They set a total variable of six inches from the most often used letter (E) to the least used (Z), arriving at a height difference of .23 inches. Laser cut in sections on architectural butter board, each letter sits in a 6×6 inch square, allowing for any combination of letters to run seamlessly both horizontally and vertically. Park says the work wasn’t done for any client, but purely “from a desire to explore the idea of language landscapes – visualizing language and the ebb and flow of spoken English.”