Kids learn the alphabet; graphic designers reinvent it. Two of the former, Laura Sicouri and Kadavre Exquis–known together as Laurent & Françoise–did just that. Following two simple directives–to challenge themselves and have a good time–created LSD ABC, an animated psychedelic version of the alphabet. “It allowed us to have full control and no deadline,” Exquis tells Co.Design of the (many) perks of a completely self-initiated project.
Exquis, who moonlights as a composer, was in charge of music and sound, but overall the vid represents the organic outcome of their shared responsibilities and sensibilities. Sicouri would tackle a letter, Exquis might take over on the background, then they’d both make it move together. Inspirations were wide-ranging but definitely honored throwback legends like graphic-design great Saul Bass, Disney’s Nine Old Men, and the animation studio UPA. “The coolest part was brainstorming, researching, and compositing,” Exquis says. “Then the whole piece start to look alive as we imagined it a few hours or days before.”
Apart from a few intentional throughlines, the common thread among the 26 vowels and consonants is the playful style, which unites the often bizarre non-sequiturs–think P is for Pets Piano and W is for Whoop–and the narration, which came courtesy of the AT&T Lab, which allows anyone to type in text and translate it into robotic audio in a variety of languages and accents. (Try it–it’s fun!)
Note: Despite the trippy vibe of the finished work, the only actual drugs used to create this piece were “cigarettes, Coca-Cola, and a lot of coffee,” Exquis says.