Designing an Alien Alphabet for “Arrival”

Alien Alphabet from “Arrival”

This article at Wired offers some interesting insight into the thinking that informed the alien “written language” in Denis Villeneuve’s “Arrival.”

A single logogram can express a simple thought (‘Hi’) or a complex one (‘Hi Louise, I’m an alien but I come in peace’). The difference lies in the complexity of the shape. A logogram’s weight carries meaning, too: A thicker swirl of ink can indicate a sense of urgency; a thinner one suggests a quiet tone. A small hook attached to one symbol makes it a question. The system allows each logogram to express a bundle of ideas without adhering to any traditional rules of syntax or sequence.

Whether this is truly plausible or not, the result is beautiful. Read the full article at