Graphic design student creates the 27th letter of the alphabet

Back in March, the Book Collector announced it was resurrecting James Bond author Ian Fleming's typography competition. Originally launched while Fleming was helping out at the typographical magazine Alphabet & Image, the contest invited graphic designers to create a 27th letter of the alphabet.

Over 2,500 people from around the world entered, but there could only be one winner. Assessed by a panel of judges chaired by Professor Phil Cleaver, the entries were whittled down to a shortlist with Sir Peter Blake choosing the overall winner. So without any further ado, meet 'LOL', the 27th letter of the alphabet as imagined by graphic design student David Guthrie.

Guthrie was awarded a volume of Ian Fleming's letters embossed with his letter

"I found out about the competition through my university tutors," says Guthrie, a third year graphic design student at the University of Cumbria in Carlisle. "I'm a huge fan of typographical design and was instantly attracted to the competition from the title alone, and even more so by the history behind it."

"It was such a surprise when I found out I had won! I thought it may have been some sort of prank," he adds. "It was an incredible feeling and it was made all the better as I was able to celebrate my winning with all my classmates at our final degree show where 'LOL' also happened to be the centrepiece of my display."

The letter is the centrepiece of Guthrie's final degree show

Ian Fleming's nephew, Fergus Fleming, praised the standard of entires, some of which will be featured in an upcoming edition of The Book Collector. "We were delighted to receive so many entries from around the world," says Fleming. "Their ingenuity and imagination made the shortlist a very hard call. There wasn’t a dud in the pack and they all showed a spirit of fun. Which is what Ian Fleming had in mind when he came up with the idea in 1947.”

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