Boo! Happy Halloween!

Alphabet of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger

Alphabet of Death by Hans Holbein the Younger

The Alphabet of Death composed by Hans Holbein the Younger between 1523 and 1525 is the companion to Holbein’s The Dance of Death created in the same period. The artist was working in Basle at the time where the Reformation was underway. Holbein’s sympathies to the reformations’ aims and ideas are evident in the illustrations.

The spooky initial caps were meant to be lessons on the brevity of life and the weakness of the flesh. We think they are a perfect typographic meditation for Halloween, the spookiest of days!

B: features two death-figures, a dog, and the pope.
O: or drop cap, Death leading a terrified monk.
Q: (modified to be a second O) Death is disguised as a monk with a nun following quietly along — in contrast to the monk.

To read more about this Holbein masterpiece:

Linda Secondari

Linda Secondari is an award winning Designer and Creative Director with more than 20 years of Design Strategy and Branding experience specializing in the publishing space. Linda is currently Creative Director for the Global Academic Business at Oxford University Press where she manages the Design Strategy Group, a team of 40 Designers and Art Directors split between OUP's Oxford, New York, Toronto, and Delhi offices.

Linda and her award winning creative team are responsible for the Design development of over 3,000 print titles a year as well as many digital products. The team also engages with content areas at the Press in ideation and visioning exercises to facilitate collaborative engagement between key stakeholders in the development process for products.