• 04.28.14

Design Student Turns Friend’s Hair Into An Alphabet

Inspired by ink-brushed Chinese characters, a New York-based design student creates letterforms out of her friend’s long black hair (with a little help from extensions).

In one of the more creative uses of hair we’ve seen lately, Shurong Diao, an undergraduate graphic design student at the School of Visual Arts in New York, turns Rapunzel-rivaling locks into an alphabet inspired by the movement of ink in Chinese calligraphy.


“I wanted to build a connection between Chinese characters and Roman letters by using the distinct feature of Chinese women: their long black hair,” Diao tells Co.Design. “This typeface is a way to uniquely imitate the effect of painting the English alphabet with ‘ink’ on rice paper.” Diao photographed her friend and fellow classmate, Xingpei Wang, posing naked with skeins of hair-letters (aided by extensions) arranged around her body. At first glance, the letters do look like they’ve been created by brushes dipped in rich black ink, until you realize they’re connected to Wang’s scalp.

It’s the latest in a string of typefaces made from random, unlikely materials–recently, we covered 10 of the weirdest things that have been turned into typography, which included eggs, butts, and Beyonce.

About the author

Carey Dunne is a Brooklyn-based writer covering art and design. Follow her on Twitter.