design your own alphabet contest: $500 prize!

I’m thrilled to wrap up our font-themed day with a fantastic contest! I’ve been interested in font design for years, but after speaking with experts over the past few weeks, I realized that designing a fully functioning font would be too complicated for most of us. So I thought we’d break things down to the basic elements: letters! Today we’re launching a two-week long Design Your Own Alphabet Contest with Veer!

Whether you’re an aspiring font designer or just a constant doodler of letters (that’s me), this contest celebrates the art of the alphabet! Over the next two weeks, we’re asking readers to have fun and try their hands at designing their own alphabets. Once you have your design (which can be digitally created or hand-drawn), submit it here and in two weeks we’ll announce the top ten entries. Then the top ten will be turned over to you guys! You’ll vote for your favorite and first prize will win $500 and $150 in Veer credits to keep their font love going!

Here are the details:

  • Contest: Design Your Own Alphabet!
  • Description: Design your own alphabet (all 26 letters, numbers are optional) and provide a sample of the alphabet letters spelling the name of your font (no length requirement) using your alphabet letters. You may submit digital or hand-drawn designs.
  • Details: What do you need to turn in? Images of all 26 letters. You can combine them into one JPEG (which must be at least 500 pixels wide) or submit a zip file of all 26 letters as separate JPEGS. In addition, you must use your letters to spell the name of your alphabet. There is no length requirement for the name, but be creative and use it as a chance to see what your letters would look like together!
  • Due Date: All entries must be received by 10pm EST November 9th, 2010. (I wanted to make sure everyone has time to dive into this project and design something they really love!)
  • How to Enter: Send your email to SUBMISSIONS AT DESIGNSPONGE DOT COM with the subject line “Alphabet Contest”.
  • What to Include in Your Email: Your full name, phone number and email address (this will only be used to contact you in the event that you are a finalist and for no other purpose). In addition to your contact information, you need to include the 26 alphabet letters and your custom alphabet name spelled in your letters. You can send this as a single JPEG or a zip file of individual files measuring at least 500 pixels wide. Please attach files, do not embed them into the email body.

*Please note: neither Veer nor Design*Sponge will have any ownership of these designs*

Have any questions? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I’ll answer them as we go along. I hope today’s font posts will inspire you to try your hand at the basic building blocks that make up font design. I know I’m going to give this a shot (I’m not eligible to enter of course), so I can’t wait to see what you all come up with! Thanks again to our sponsor,, for donating the $500 prize and $150 in Veer credits! xo, grace


Consider me entering! This contest is so exciting, can’t wait to see everyone’s entries :)


I’ve never really tried designing my own font before, but I’m very excited! Does each letter need to be similar, or can they all look completely different like in your competition banner?


Just a silly question, but would we need to submit both upper & lower case alphabets for the font-face?


Is it a contest only for US residents, or can one participate even if they live in Europe?(Danmark)


hi guys! so glad you’re excited.

-you can submit as many designs as you like
-you can choose upper or lowercase, but only one style is required
-sven, it’s all due on nov 9th, 10pm EST
-the letters can all be different, it’s up to you.

grace :)


I second Rosie and Nadine’s questions. Can we make them crazy and (seemingly) unrelated and how many submissions are we allowed?


This sounds so fun!

I would like to know if the designers have the rights to the alphabets that we design? I cannot commit to forfeiting my rights to my own work for the sake of a contest…


Elise raises a very important question. Will Veer own the rights to the submitted type designs? It sounds like an interesting competition, but I would be hesitant to simply crowdsource Veer’s concept work.



nononono- no one owns the rights but you. veer is generously donating a prize- but will not own anything.




you will not forfeit any rights- veer won’t own anything you run, they’re just sponsoring the contest and graciously donating a prize.



I was so thrilled to see your Theme day today. Simply Wonderful posts….and now i get my hustle on some superbly sweet letterings.



these need to be new alphabet designs (or variations on an existing design of your own), they cannot already be on the market. sorry.


Heather T.

Okiedokie, thanks for the quick reply! I have a couple of free fonts out, but I always have fun making new ones!

ashley d.

are the letters supposed to be in black and white, or can we add color?



they can be any color (or lack of color) you like. black, white, colorful, metallic- it’s all wide open as long as it’s legible.

grace :)


Thank you for the speedy response! I am a graphic design student at a California state university- So i’ll run this contest by a few of my classmates :) If i have a break from my studies, count me in!

Alejandra C.

I just sent mine!!
I think I have been waiting for this contest for a while and I’m so happy it turned out to be a Design*Sponge iniciative!! Thank you!


I love this! Can’t wait to see what everyone entries! Also, love this type week on Design Sponge, great idea!


This sounds like so much fun! I can’t wait to start making stuff :)

I have a question though, do these letters have to be drawn (digitally or by hand) only, or can they be photographs of found objects or installations too?


SUBMISSIONSATDESIGNSPONGE.COM it´s that correct? or is it only


My question about that: is this all about latin alphabet? What about cyrilic?



the letters can be photographs if they’re of things you’ve made. if you’ve gathered rocks, twigs, etc and taken pictures that’s ok. but you still need to make them spell the name of your alphabet in one shot, you can’t combine the photos in a row. also, they can’t be images of existing letters, like an “R” in a street sign, etc.



oh, now I’m definitely finishing the font I started…ah feels good to have a deadline…


I had the same question as Krista…both upper and lower or just one of each letter in any format?


When you say it must be 500 pixels wide, is that the entire alphabet, or each individual letter?



aesthetically i think you’ll have better luck if the alphabet feels more cohesive, so i’d suggest doing all lower or all upper. but you’re welcome to combine them if that’s you’re preference.



its not a “font” its a Typeface…ugghhh! A font are all the characters within a tyepface. Please use this term correctly, especially since this is a design Blog.


This is so great! I have been wanting to design an alphabet for so long. What a challenge. Thanks…so excited!


Hi Grace, very interesting contest. Although i need some clarifications on certain points.
1 – Do i need to submit all 26 letters and also write the name of my alphabet (font) in using the same alphabets?
2 – Do i need to submit numbers?




1. yes, all 26 letters and the name spelled in those letters
2. no. numbers aren’t required.


Juliana Stankiewicz

When will the submissions be available online to look at? Will this competition be shown on If we submit will we get a confirmation email back with specific dates, rules, etc?



we will choose our top ten and post them shortly after the deadline listed in the post above.

the competition will not be shown on veer.

if you submit an alphabet you will receive a confirmation when we go over the applications on november 10th but there are no additional dates, rules and information other than what’s listed above. what other information did you need? i’m happy to answer any questions here, but all the rules/dates are above in the post.



The contest is for everyone or just U.S residents? I’m a chilean girl and i want participate!


You live up to your name as you answer all these questions with great patience and grace.


If we choose to submit multiple entries, would you prefer they be sent in different emails, or all zip files attached to one?


i was wondering if we i submit my alphabet in the format ”the quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog” as it contains all the letters in the alphabet?



the alphabet needs to be spelled out in individual letters, sorry. we need all 26 letters and then the name of your new font spelled in that font style. you’re welcome to submit another sentence but we need the individual letters as well.


marsha baker

So how about starting a flickr group for everyone to post their offering? I realize posting every one’s on your site would be very time consuming, but I’d love to see every one’s creativity. I know I am working feverishly to finish my offering. Thanks for doing this!



i promise we’ll share the best the group has to offer. d*s has always been about editing to show the strongest of the things we see around us, so i’d like to keep that editorial eye in place with this contest too.

that said, if any of the entrants want to create a flickr group or share their work elsewhere we will be happy to link out to it so people can see more ;)




the first one, the email address. i type addresses out to avoid being spammed, spam services can cut and paste addresses if i spell them out.



What about color? Should we submit the same font in different color schemes? Or does that matter?


The email address to send the entries in–should it be all in caps like read above or like this: Submissions at(@ of course) Designsponge dot(.) com

Note– I already sent mine in as: SUBMISSIONS AT(@) DESIGNSPONGE DOT(.) COM


–Correct: I sent it in as Submissions at(@)Designsponge dot(.)com
Please tell me the right format before it’s to late.

Note: I already had my fonts created (using a font maker),
and I’ve sent them on a free font site. Would this by any chance disqualify me?



the caps part doesn’t matter. and you’re not too late. however, we cannot use any fonts that have already been published elsewhere or are already available for sale.



Last minute question!

I know it says “at least 500 pixels wide” – but is there an actual dimension limit for the combined JPG? Height and width? Or is it just “within reason?”



please keep all files under 1MB each, dimensions are up to you as long as they’re 500 pixels wide.



Hi grace,
i just submitted my files, but didn’t see your note about keeping each file under 1 mb – with both files, our zip was 3.5 – would you prefer we resize and resend our typeface?
thanks so much


That was fun and *made* me finish a font I started oh so long ago! Much fun! Thank you!


I haven’t been paid for any fonts I’ve sent–so you know. DaFont dot com
was one of the sites I sent for free, but again, I don’t get paid for it–people there can download it [Lightning Strike] for free.

Note: would this disqualify me–sending fonts to a site for free
without being paid by them?

If so, I understand–at least I tried.


I submitted mine!
Is there a link to see all the submissions and the winner font?


will have another edition next year? i’m from brazil, may i participate? :)



i’m not sure about next year, but this one was so much fun i’ll definitely keep it in mind :)



OH NO!! How did I not see this until today??? Rats. Would have loved to enter. Sounds like so much fun.



i made an announcement on friday, they’ll be up monday, tuesday and wednesday :)


Parker Moosman

Hi Grace,
Will these fonts be available for purchase/download?



if these artists choose to make them available i’d be more than happy to link to them but that wasn’t a requirement to enter.


holly regan

Love this contest but so disappointed I missed it! That’s what happens when you get behind on your daily d*s ! Good luck to all – this is a fun one! Hope to see you do a repeat next year or maybe another contest?? ALways thinkin’ Grace. U R 2 GOOD.



i definitely want to do another one next year, so i’ll do my best to get it up and running next year- hopefully without the kinks ;)


Melissa Carey

I’m trying to submit my alphabet and i dont see where i can do so?




the font contest entry process closed weeks ago, this was for the finalist voting.



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