The philatelic alphabet presented here was designed as a project of the AIGA/San Francisco, with additional funding from Crane stationery.

Alyson Kuhn, West Coast representative for Dickson's, Inc. of Atlanta, and Director of Communications for the AIGA/SF chapter, had the original inspiration for our alphabet, and produced and directed its debut in a style that would have impressed even Martha Stewart. Meticulous thoroughness, delightful imagination, and glorious panache were the keywords of the day. And it is almost entirely thanks to Alyson's efforts that the alphabet has survived at all, let alone evolved and grown so entertainingly.

This web site was designed, written, and produced by Bill Senkus, World's Foremost Alphabetilatelist (*), and he is solely responsible for its content. The brief definitions that introduce the topics were the joint product of Bill, Alyson Kuhn, and Sheryn Labate.

Sheryn Labate, amanuensis supreme, has lent her own fertile imagination, plus boundless moral and physical support and encouragement.

* Okay, I am probably the world's ONLY Alphabetilatelist.

The Stamp Alphabet Images

The special stamp images that accompany the definitions were created by designers at 26 San Francisco Bay Area studios, based on their interpretations of definitions and examples provided to them. The images premiered on May 14, 1997, at Ephemera Philatelica: An Evening About Postage Stamps, sponsored by AIGA/SF and Crane stationery. Materials for the May 14 program, including the invitation and commemorative stamp, were designed by Michael Osborne Design. Below we list the designers of the images, in philatelic alphabetical order.

Invitation to first showing Michael Osborne
Michael Osborne Design
San Francisco

A is for Advertising cover Melinda Maniscalco
CKS Partners
San Francisco

B is for Bisect Doug Akagi, Alison McKee,
Joanna Wiraatmadja, Christopher Simmons,
Jason Oshiro

Akagi Remington
San Francisco

C is for Cinderella Martha Newton Furman Design & Illustration
San Ramon

D is for Duck stamps Ward Schumaker
San Francisco

E is for EFO's Phillip Ting
SBG Enterprise
San Francisco

F is for Firsts Melissa Passehl Design
San Jose

G is for G stamp Martin Venezky
Appetite Engineers
San Francisco

H is for Handstamp Steve Barretto, John Barretto, Todd Foreman
push, sf

I is for Invert Error Kit Hinrichs
San Francisco

J is for Joint issue Michael Carabetta
Chronicle Books
San Francisco

K is for Kansas City Roulettes Sackett Design Associates
San Francisco/Los Angeles/New York

L is for Local stamps Jean Orlebeke
Tolleson Design
San Francisco

M is for Mulready envelopes Michael Osborne
Michael Osborne Design
San Francisco

N is for Numerals Earl Gee
Gee + Chung Design
San Francisco

O is for Overprint Michael Cronan
Cronan Design
San Francisco

P is for Persian Rug Elixir Design
San Francisco

Q is for Quality Ken Cook
San Francisco

R is for RPO Urbain Design
San Francisco

S is for Setenant Diane E. Carr
San Francisco

T is for Topicals Kelly Tokerud Design
San Francisco

U is for UPU Amy Suits, Wendy Wong, Mya Kramer
Mya Kramer Design Group
San Francisco

V is for V-mail Michael Vanderbyl
Vanderbyl Design
San Francisco

W is for War Michael Schwab
San Anselmo

X is for X cancel Mark Fox/BlackDog
San Anselmo

Y is for Yvert et Tellier DelRae Roth
Atelier Graphique
San Francisco

Z is for Zeppelin Post Courtney Reeser, Jamie Calderon
Landor Associates
San Francisco

Click here to view a page showing how the 26 artist images have evolved over the lifetime of this project.

Many of the other images shown on these pages are being used with the courtesy of philatelic auction houses, dealers, and collectors, all of whom I have tried to credit in context.


All Letter images Copyright © 1997, 2000, SF chapter of AIGA
All text Copyright © 2000, William M. Senkus

Send feedback to the author: CLICK HERE

Revised -- 11/15/2004