Early Alphabets and the Roman Letterform


An alphabet is a standard set of letters used to write one or more languages. The letters of an alphabet indicate the sounds of the spoken language it represents. It has separate glyphs for individual sounds, rather than larger units, like syllables or words.

A true alphabet has letters for the vowels of a language as well as the consonants. Alphabets are usually associated with a standard ordering of their letters, making them useful for organization methods like sorting words in alphabetical order.

The Greeks stabilized the alphabet, the Romans polished it off.
— Ryan Souder (student, Fall 2019)


40,000 BC – 3,000 BC

3,000 BC – 1,000 BC

2,700 BC

Phoenician Alphabet
1,000 BC

Greek Alphabet
800 BC

Latin Alphabet
200 BC



Youtube description: For the past 25 years, one typeface has dominated Hollywood typography: Trajan. It's everywhere, from Shakespearean epic classics like Titus to gory modern flicks like The Human Centipede. It was even the official typeface of the Academy Awards for a while.