NEW YORK—Dynamic, sleek, and even sexy is how a panel of typographic and marketing experts described the 15 new replacement letters they unveiled Monday in an effort to reinvigorate interest in the faltering English alphabet.
"Forget everything you thought you knew about reading and writing," announced David Greenberg, 34, lead designer of the exciting ABC makeover. "These new letters are hip, fresh, and sure to forever change the way English speakers everywhere form their words."
"Move over 'M' and 'P,'" Greenberg continued. "Because this ain't your grandfather's alphabet."
According to Greenberg, the exciting new set of consonants and vowels will be rolled out over the next few months, and should find its way into most newspapers, magazines, and popular works of fiction by early spring.
Among the updated letter designs that have thus far been released to the public are the , which designers described as an edgy reimagining of the old, humdrum "T," as well as the innovative new , which will replace the "U" effective immediately.
In addition to giving the alphabet a "much-needed face-lift," Greenberg and his team said they'd be drastically changing the order of most letters in an effort to better reflect modern tastes.
"There's a reason Americans would rather sit down in front of their television sets than pick up a book or commit their innermost thoughts to paper," said Maartin Ulriksen, who cited architect Frank Gehry and early '80s New Wave music as some of his biggest influences in redesigning the alphabet. "I would, too, if I had to stare at the same boring "C" all day long, or, God forbid, was forced to come across that flat and predictable "H" every time I opened up a copy of Us Weekly."
The result of nearly a year of focus-group testing, the new letters are reportedly more than just an aesthetic update. Studies found that more than 87 percent of Americans rarely ever use the letter "X" in their daily lives, a discovery that led to a complete reworking of the neglected consonant that has transformed it from unpopular alphabet pariah to something "people will be dying to write down."
By contrast, the vowel "E" was found to be by far the most used letter in the alphabet, giving designers the idea to cash in on its popularity by adding a third horizontal line to the less desirable "F."
Though black has long been the dominant color of choice for alphabet letters and fonts, designers said they were also experimenting with a number of different hues of indigo.
"There's something in here for everyone: crowd-pleasers, tried and true classics, hidden gems," said marketing guru Jack Gonson, who will work with top advertisers, web masters, highway departments, and other major purveyors of alphabetic content to popularize the new letters. "Functionality can always be fixed later. This is about style, about energy, about sizzle—something the alphabet hasn't had in centuries."
A number of school districts across the country have already embraced the redesigned alphabet, as new curricula are developed for students to learn their ABs, and teachers are showing confused first-graders how to spell their new names.
A series of PSAs for alphabet users of all ages is also scheduled to air this month, with such titles as "Coming Soon To A Paperback Near You" and "The New Alphabet: It Puts The In Fn!"
So far, reaction to the new replacement has been positive.
"I've never reay pai much aenin wrd anff like ha, ell yhe rh," 10h-graer Parick Reynoai. "Bhi i fn. I barey even feel like I'm wriing."