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

(via Amazon)

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

(via A Wild Slim Alien)

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

(via Giovanni Garcia-Fenech)

Alfabeto Pittorico, by Antonio Basoli, 1839

(via LiveInternet)

An ornamental Italian alphabet, 1839

(via Just Something I Made)

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

(via Ptak Science Books)

Occupational Alphabet, c. 1850

(via Ptak Science Books)

The Royal Picture Alphabet, 1854

(via OpenLibrary)

The Funny Alphabet, 1850s

(via Internet Archive)

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

(via British Museum)

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

(via Longstreet)

Baseball ABC, c. 1885

(via Library of Congress)

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

(via Public Domain Review)