Design Process

At its heart, Pseudoglyphs is actually a syllabary. Each symbol represents one syllable. They are literally the building blocks of the writing system. These symbols are used to create an elaborate system of “false” glyphs. Hence the name Pseudoglyphs.

The Basics

It starts with a 3×3 grid. The lines that make up each symbol snap to this grid.

Letterforms come in noticeable phonological groupings. The design grows more complex depending on the manner of articulation, similar to Korean. In this regard, Pseudoglyphs is also a featural writing system.

In the end, I chose 10 symbols to represent the consonant sounds of the Umu language.

Foreign Sounds

There are three more symbols for the sounds sʧ and ʒ.

In  Umu, these sounds do not exist. But because most languages have them, they remain on the shelf, ready for use.

There are a number of reasons why a writing system would include characters for non-native sounds. This can happen in natural writing systems when there is a more (politically) dominant language nearby.

Another reason may be that the writing system was borrowed from another language that had more sounds, causing superfluities.

Whatever the case, Umu has made allowances for these foreign sounds in its writing system.


Ojibwe Inspiration

The symbol for each syllable had its own distinct shape; the shape represented the consonant sound. The direction of the symbol marks the vowel sound. Each direction—down, up, right and left—has with it an associated vowel sound.

With Pseudoglyphs, the process works like this.

directional vowels

The Syllabary

Here is the result. Each symbol represents an entire syllable. There are forty symbols in total.

These symbols can build every word in the language.

On to Glyph Building


8 thoughts on “Design Process

Add yours

  1. Looks like a lot of creative fun and a lot of time. But, looking it over, I don’t find myself motivated to learn it. Am I missing something? What would be the advantages and motivation? Has anyone else learned it? No one else has learned my ideograms at A private script, so far! For me, it’s okay; I enjoy doing it just for myself.

      1. Thanks, A Mendes! I get a lot of joy out creating and using them. They change and improve my mind. The other day I was trying to summon the word “detached” to mind, which I tend to confound with words similar to it, and the simple id for it came to me first. I’d enjoy seeing creations of others, but that is yet to happen. If not, that’s fine. I get plenty out of them just doing them for myself.

      2. Try to tidy things up online. It’s secondary but it will make you happier to see your work beautifully showcased. Newcomers will automatically like it more too because it makes things more digestible. For me, it was like taking people in a journey.

        The creation itself is beautiful.

  2. Wow. This is really impressing. The letters, ideas and phonetic system in general are just great! Can I use your writing system?

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