: a concluding section that rounds out the design of a literary work


The clock was already ticking. On January 3, 2021, I bought the Alpha Projects domain and committed to doing a project every two weeks. A total of 26 projects would correspond to the letters of the alphabet. A project idea, once buried on an iPhone idea list for years, would finally be realized. 

It seemed appropriate that “alpha” would be the first word and in the spirt of that, I quickly designed the website in Notion. Thankfully, my partner’s feedback and support helped me redesign the project for the word “beta.” The beta version of this site was also a rough draft—it launched without a navigation, an About page, and Google Analytics. 

The priority was to complete the 26 projects at a mostly steady pace. I hit the goal but it was less straightforward than I anticipated. For one thing, I increased the scope of the project by creating a newsletter to summarize each post and share interesting links from the cutting floor. For another, I took a long dormant Instagram account and adapted content for that. Finally, I underestimated how life could halt my progress, whether due to work, COVID, or mental blocks (see kindness). 

I did fall behind on Alpha Projects. As the year’s end neared, I had a decision to make: I could push myself to finish the remainder of the projects or I could invite others to help. The former option risked completing the projects with less quality or potentially not at all. The latter option meant I might not find people to adopt letters or that they might not finish their commitment. 

I was reminded of an original intention to have collaborators for each project. Coordinating that proved challenging early on but what if I changed my perspective on collaboration? I’m grateful I chose to invite others to do their own project through a call-to-adventure I referred to as Alpha Quests. As the six volunteers finished, I couldn’t help but marvel at their projects and grin at their storytelling. Some shared, unprompted, how meaningful their Alpha Quests experience was. The framework I used for Alpha Projects, that I hadn’t publicly articulated until writing this Afterword, worked for them:

  • Definition: grounding the project with an initial understanding of the word
  • Illustration: interpreting the word in a visual way (note: I did the illustrations for all words to ensure volunteers didn’t have to worry and to maintain a consistent look for the site)
  • Inspiration: exploring introspection and research related to the word to inform and shape the project
  • Creation: documenting the project’s process and result
  • Reflection: revealing learnings and insights based on the experience
  • Connection(s): sharing links from the cutting room floor through the newsletter (that I’ll append to the site’s posts)

GIF of all Alpha Projects, from A-Z

Words + Projects

  • Alpha: launched project and Notion site 
  • Beta: redid website outside of Notion 
  • Community: co-launched a community called Identity Lab 
  • Delight: made delightful Venn DIEagrams 
  • Emotion: tracked + color-coded emotions + made into playlist w/ album art
  • Friendship: prototyped a friendship connections generating no-code app
  • Game: designed a board game called Flock
  • Home: created Postcards from Home
  • Identity: crafted a GIF-powered fashion mood board
  • Jam: jammed on a jam about jam
  • Kindness: hacked a scheduled self-compassion challenge on Slack
  • Liminal: facilitated a career ‘rites of passage’ workshop for job seekers
  • Memory: drafted and delivered MEMOries to reconnect
  • Narrative: wrote and mocked up a book blurb
  • Oops: celebrated mistakes through kintsugi
  • Play: stirred up some cafe-scented play dough
  • Quest: invited others to join Alpha Quests and try their own projects
  • Risk: developed a Decision Capsule using no-code tools
  • Signal: created a physical street sign with accompanying landing page
  • Time: composed, played, and filmed beats on a toy keyboard* 
  • Unfurl: visualized typos as glitch text art and generated a couple of unfurling GIFs*
  • Vibe: filmed an experimentation with sound waves in singing bowls*
  • Wonder: co-designed a game deck called Wanda’s Wonder*
  • X-Factor: prototyped a storytelling booth*
  • Yummy: designed and printed nostalgia-inspired stickers*
  • Zeal: launched MVP for cohort-based learn-through-making community called Alpha Month

* Indicates project completed by volunteers who participated in Alpha Quests while I completed the accompanying illustrations and newsletters


Alpha Projects Website

Built in collaboration with Philip Reichenberger. Stack includes Netlify, Next.js by Vercel, and Stitches. Fonts included Tabarra Shadow and Source Sans Pro. Domain bought from Google Domains.

Other Tools + Resources

Illustrations completed in Procreate (for iPad) with inspiration from Noun Project. Definitions provided by Merriam-Webster. Project content developed and organized using Notion, Notes, Figma, Coolors, and ColorZilla. Other tools for individual projects included Google Workspace, Carrd, Loom, YouTube, Glide, Redbubble, Endless, Slack, and SmartSign.