If you’re one of those people that begins their morning scrolling through Instagram, you may have noticed the #36daysoftype hashtag take over your feed on a yearly basis. So what on earth is this thing anyway? 36 Days of Type is a project started by Barcelona-based designers Nina Sans and Rafa Goicoechea, inviting illustrators, designers and graphic artists to reinterpret the alphabet, designing a letter or a number each day.
The very beautiful thing that I love about this project is that the base symbol is quite universal, but there are so many different ways to express the alphabet visually. The official account @36daysoftype also curates a selection of entries from around the world, and a perusal of the account’s feed shows the diversity of styles and ways of interpreting each alphabet.
Others, like Denver-based illustrator Nicholas Campbell, use the opportunity to work the letter of the day into intricately drawn scenes.
One could also draw inspiration from words beginning with each letter of the alphabet, like this Cophenhagen-based designer did for her 2019 series.
Some people take it a step further and assign a theme for their project. For her 2019 edition of #36daysoftype, animator Sandhya Prabhat focused on highlighting an endangered animal with every letter.
Printmaker Natalia Ros’s 2020 edition of the project was made using linocut prints of meticulously carved leaves, featuring a different plant for every letter.
Some people, like this Seattle-based artist, choose to send a message through their project:
Others, like motion designer Travis Ragsdale, take it up a notch and add a layer of motion to their letters
You can even use the project to rediscover the versatility of type, and observe it in different forms around you, like Mohini Mukherjee and her series of found type around Bombay.
Or, you can just look through the hashtag and swipe through the work of illustrators, artists, designers and creatives worldwide, looking for inspiration. Either way, the #36daysoftype project is an excellent way to make a foray into typography of all sorts, whether it’s creating, reinterpreting, or even just learning. It’s a great glimpse into how just a single letter of the alphabet can mean so many different things to different people.