Sophie Elinor

Alphabet of joys

I wasn't intending to take part in another 36 Days of Type, but just before the 2020 challenge began, I finished reading "Joyful" by Ingrid Fetell Lee. It was creatively thrilling, and I was immediately swept up in all her research that clarified so many of my design intuitions. Feeling all-of-a-sudden inspired, I decided to once more climb the 36 Days of Type mountain with a concept as simple and lovely as this: joy. Day by day (and in the middle of a global pandemic!), I created an animated alphabet of joys both universal and personal.

A is for animation! Injecting movement into my work has become such a delight for me, and always feels like magic.

B is for baking! Home-cooked goodies are a real love language of mine. They're parcels that say I love you and I made time.

C is for colour, celebration, and confetti! Vibrant colour is pure, distilled joy, and a universally jolly aesthetic.

D is for dance breaks! Whenever I’ve spent too long at my desk, I’ll try to reset my spine and brain by blasting some music and having a lil boogie.

E is for Evie! Evie is my parents’ tan and white border collie. She sings when she sees you, snuggles when you ask, has boundless energy and is ridiculously cute.

F is for flowers! Stacks of studies prove the long-term, positive effects that flowers can have; they reduce stress, boost creativity and are lovely to look at.

G is for googly eyes! Sometimes silly, sometimes sarcastic, this craft drawer staple is always playful. They’re dumb and fun and I’ll never not be delighted by them.

H is for home! A haven of hygge - spaces that feel peaceful and cozy, inviting and joyful - home is also the loving shelter of family, both chosen and preordained.

I is for inflatable arm tube men! These floppy, flowy air-sausages because they are so joyous and so pointless. They always crack me up.

J is for jewels! I’m going through a bit of a rhinestone renaissance at the moment, and those abundant, light-refracting little color-pops bedazzle my days.

K is for kaleidoscopes! These low-fi yet magical, mirrored tubes spin fractal fantasies out of even the most mundane environments.

L is for lettering! Since I first discovered lettering, I’ve romanticised the way it pairs language and design, and I love exploring typographic styles throughout history.

M is for moonrise! A hundred shades of blue melt the day away as this massive, celestial lantern arcs across the sky. That lunar glow is enchanting.

N is for night sky! There's something really calming about an open, inky sky, studded with twinkling starlight. The scale of it makes me feel tiny and comforted.

O is for outside! There are few things more blissfully refreshing than a walk outside. Even just a window to outside can relieve fatigue, increase focus, and alleviate stress.

P is for pom poms! There’s something universally cheerful and celebratory about these squishy, sometimes-sparkly, always-colorful fluff balls.

Q is for quiet! There's something so serene about a silence rippled only by birds chirping or rain drizzling. There is clarity in that peacefulness.

R is for rainbows! They require such a specific set of circumstances; they are so vast and vibrant; and they are here only for a moment. What a gift for tired eyes.

S is for sparkles! I don’t care that it gets everywhere, or that some think it’s childish or tacky. There is something utterly magical about those shimmering specks.

T is for tea! From elevensies onwards, my days are punctuated by loose-leaf greens, strong blacks, and aromatic chais. Each cup is tiny, ceremonial pick-me-up.

U is for undoing your bra! One of life’s greatest pleasures: unburdening yourself of ill-fitting, underwired underwear and just letting your sweet thangs swang.

V is for vegetation! Plants are good for us in so many ways. They clean the air, decrease our blood pressure, improve focus and make us more generous.

W is for water! Whenever I’m feeling particularly frayed or frazzled, a little bit of ocean-gazing can usually plant my feet right back on the ground.

X is for the kisses my Mum signs every text message off with! Her lovely telltale signature is a row of x’s (or a heart emoji or some sparkles).

Y is for yellow! Yellow is joy. It is warmth, light, silliness, happiness, and sparks of creativity. It is my favourite colour. It is half my wardrobe.

Z is for catching Z's! I love it so much and it feels so good. May we all have clear minds, cosy-but-not-too-hot blankets and eight uninterrupted hours.

Inbox zero is a small joy for many. How deeply satiating is that feeling of getting to the bottom of your emails, and clearing all those notifications?!

One good book is a divine small joy. Curling up and disappearing into the pages; losing all sense of time and loving it.

Two minutes alone to pee is a small joy for those doing lockdown with tiny humans who have no sense of personal space!

Making three delicious meals a day is a small, home-isolation joy; some silver-lining in the quarantined times of 2020.

Playing connect four was a small joy in my household, growing up. My brothers usually won, but I always loved watching all the discs cascade down at the end.

Five big deep breaths while watching the rain fall is a grounding small joy. Sitting quietly, sipping tea and watching my garden dance in the drizzle feels so cosy.

Six pieces of chocolate is a delicious small joy. Up to interpretation is whether those pieces are individual squares, or whole blocks carved into numbers!

Seven colours dancing across the walls is a small joy for those with crystal prism sun catchers, which reflect rainbows across the walls when the light hits them.

Finding eight different ways to connect meaningfully with your loved ones during lockdown was both a small joy and a big challenge!

Bird watching can make you feel like you're on cloud nine. While we’re all cooped up inside, seeing birds flit about outside is a joyful slice of vicarious freedom.

I can take or leave the taste, but a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands - that tiny edible confetti - is a visual delight that instantly makes treats more joyful!