Tragic Alphabet by Nikki Meier| Illustration Dedicated to Opera

Nikki Meier is a South African designer, illustrator and animator who describes her style of work as handcrafted typography and painstakingly detailed illustration. For three years, she participated in 36DaysofType and used these passion projects as an opportunity to research something she finds interesting and exciting. In 2017, she did orchids, in 2018, she focused on the latest developments in advanced technology, and for 2019, she decided to focus on opera as a topic and put together a piece (titled ‘Tragic Alphabet‘)


“Now don’t be like that, there is nothing more drama-licious than opera. In order for them to sing those unforgettable, heartbreaking arias that have lived on for hundreds of years (that take your stomach on a ride in the clouds) they create a character that resonates with everybody… and they kill them!”


Nikki expresses that her work is usually very happy, with pretty colours and a lot of flowers. For ‘Tragic Alphabet’, she decided to step out of her comfort zone and shift away from her usual happy, colourful work by focussing on the death scenes of the operas.

“The alphabet became an opportunity to bring opera to so many more people, who were maybe a little wary of sitting through 4 hours of singing in a foreign language (though most performances have subtitles these days). I gave myself a type size and word limit, which distilled the synopsis into something more palatable for everyone”, says Nikki.


Due to the detail and work involved in creating this piece, Nikki states that she has completed the first half of the project, and has plans to finish the series and possibly publish a book based on this topic.

Nikki’s ‘Tragic Alphabet’- and more of her work is available and can be viewed on the following platforms:


Between 10 and 5