Seth Neilson is a designer, illustrator, photographer. He’s also a backpacker, fly fisherman, alpinist, paddler. And a father. All of this informs My Outdoor Alphabet, a clever side project of the Bozeman, MT based creative centered around the idea of bringing the lexicon and lingo of his favorite outdoor activities to life via illustrated posters and prints.
“It came from a need to create something that mashed up my three biggest passions—my family, illustration, and the outdoors,” Neilson tells us. The project started roughly seven years with The Alpinist’s Alphabet, and it was a hit. Five more have been completed since—the latest being Fly Fishing, with running and surfing rumored to be coming soon—each answering the question of what else Neilson enjoys doing outdoors.
“We all self-identify as something—climber, skier, cyclist—but a lot of people don’t restrict themselves to just one thing. I climb, hike, ski, ride—so it really becomes MY outdoor alphabet—a celebration of the building blocks that make up my relationship to the outdoors.”
All 26 letters are represented in each, chosen carefully and with great effort, especially in the cases of Q and Z. And though originally intended to educate and inspire kids, the visually striking posters have the same desired affect on most adults too.
“There’s some value in understanding the history and culture and language behind these kinds of activities. It makes them just a bit richer if you know about the techniques and gear and characters who came before,” Neilson continues. “At least my kids know what a dulfersitz is, which makes me happy.”
Yeah, we had to look that one up too.