Letters Are Pictures of Things, Pt. 1: Garamond Powerline

Eric Gill once said “Letters are things, not pictures of things”, stressing the intimate bond between typography and the physical world. Daniel Adolph of German design bureau 0c/0m/0y/0k and Düsseldorf based graphic collaboration with Alex Klug Royal Grafico inverted this relationship. His photographic project Garamond Powerline takes pictures of things – assorted details of powerlines – and converts them into letters, using the classic typeface Garamond as a model. The alphabet which exists solely as images has ignited the imagination and earned the admiration of bloggers all over the world.


  1. I was just looking for letters for a kids program and found this sight. I spent over 35 years working for Florida Power [now Progress Energy] in line work and this picture letter impressed me.

    Posted by William Whiting on Feb. 18, 2009
  2. I am looking for the published source of the quote: “The shapes of letters do not derive their beauty from any sensual or sentimental reminiscences. No one can say that the O’s roundness appeals to us only because it is like that of an apple or of a girl’s breast or of the full moon. Letters are things, not pictures of things.”

    Can anyone help?

    This seems an odd idea, since pictures are things as well, and if sounds are also things, then letters can be called pictures of sounds. In any case, it seems pointless to make such hard and fast distinctions in the realm of the visual, where form feeds on form, and where it is difficult enough to distinguish what we rashly call “things” from how we picture them.

    Posted by Jean-Marie Clarke on Mar. 27, 2011

Post a comment:


The FontFeed

The FontFeed is a daily dispatch of recommended fonts, typography techniques, and inspirational examples of digital type at work in the real world. Eat up.

  • Minicomputer
  • Segno™
  • Neutrif Studio
  • Magehand
  • Highest Praise
  • WBP Red Tape
  • YWFT Ink
  • WBP Sight
  • WBP Ripples
  • Slantinel
  • Taglocaps
  • Obstacle
  • YWFT Bitwood
  • Carrot Juice
  • Dragon Spell
  • Platz Grotesk
  • Collect Em All BB
  • New Lanzelott
  • Harajuku Script
  • Honeyguide
  • JT Marnie

Popular Fonts

  • Morl
  • Merlod
  • TT Backwards
  • Heading Pro
  • Proxima Nova
  • Nexa Rust™
  • Rosella™
  • Brandon Grotesque
  • TT Travels
  • Bourton
  • Helvetica Neue®
  • Cenzo Flare
  • Nexa
  • TT Norms
  • Aromatica
  • Gilroy™
  • Selfie
  • Avenir®
  • Moments
  • Viva Beautiful
  • Serendipity