These incredible pictorial alphabet designs look like artistic madness, but they were actually used historically as mnemonic devices to help people memorize their letters. If you are a font fiend, or simply love weird imagery, you must check out these demented illustrations of the ABCs.

A Human Alphabet, by Jo. Theodor and Jo. Israel De Bry in Frankfurt, 1596

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(via Amazon)

The Comical Hotch Potch, or The Alphabet turn'd Posture-Master, 1782

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(via A Wild Slim Alien)

The Man of Letters or Pierrot's Alphabet (1794)

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(via Giovanni Garcia-Fenech)

Alfabeto Pittorico, by Antonio Basoli, 1839

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(via LiveInternet)

An ornamental Italian alphabet, 1839

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(via Just Something I Made)

A Was An Archer, or a New Amusing Alphabet for Children, 1844

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(via Ptak Science Books)

Occupational Alphabet, c. 1850

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(via Ptak Science Books)

The Royal Picture Alphabet, 1854

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(via OpenLibrary)

The Funny Alphabet, 1850s

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(via Internet Archive)

The Landscape Alphabet, printed by Charles Joseph Hullmandel, made between 1818 and 1860

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(via British Museum)

Kantner's Illustrated Book of Objects and Self-Educator in German and English, 1879

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(via Longstreet)

Baseball ABC, c. 1885

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(via Library of Congress)

A Fashionable Melange of English Words (Ryūkō eigo zukushi), a Japanese woodcut by Kamekichi Tsunajima, 1887

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(via Public Domain Review)