• The Aussie Legends Alphabet poster by illustrator and graphic designer Beck Feiner. (Beck Feiner)
"I just felt like A is for apple, and B is for banana was a bit boring."
By
Alyssa Braithwaite

22 Mar 2017 - 4:27 PM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2017 - 11:22 AM

When Beck Feiner started to help her four-year-old son Levi learn his letters, she tried to find a cool alphabet poster to inspire and educate him.

What she found was the typical sweet but bland fare: "I just felt like A is for apple, and B is for banana was a bit boring," she says.

So, the Sydney-based freelance graphic designer and illustrator decided to come up with a more interesting alphabet series for her son.

In the Aussie Legends Alphabet, A is for Indigenous AFL footballer Adam Goodes, B is for former prime minister Bob Hawke, L is for SBS newsreader Lee Lin Chin, P is for Melbourne Cup-winning racehorse Phar Lap, and T is for scientist and conservationist Professor Tim Flannery.

"I'm very aware of the current political scene at the moment, and I just wanted to give my son a more of a rounded education as to who the true Australian legends really are, who Eddie Mabo is and who Tim Flannery is," Feiner tells SBS. 

"And I wanted to show the multicultural diversity. I wanted to make sure I did Indigenous people, Asian people, everyone. I wanted to represent the complete spectrum of Australia."

Feiner, who also has a 16-month-old daughter called Esme, started creating a letter each day after she put her kids to bed and posting them to her Instagram account.

"I just thought, 'I'm going to do a letter a day', that was my thing. And everyone just kept spurring me along, so that's what encouraged me to do the poster in the end," she says.

Before long she got some feedback from some of the famous faces portrayed in the alphabet.

"Dame Edna liked my post, INXS loved it and the Victor Chang Foundation really liked it," Feiner says.

"When I did Fred Hollows, which was super popular, the Fred Hollows Foundation reached out to me and was like, 'oh we love it'. So that's how I actually ended up partnering with them, so a portion of the profits goes to the Fred Hollows Foundation."

Among Feiner's personal favourites are the letters K for "foxy morons" Kath & Kim, J for Aboriginal musician Jimmy Little and L for Lee Lin Chin: "I had so much fun doing Lee Lin Chin, with her collar and her outfit!" she says.  

"As we got into the X, Y, Z, I had to get a bit more abstract. X was impossible so I decided to do INXS, as I love Michael Hutchence and think he deserved a place. And for Z I went for the every day Australian, the Shazza and Wazza. I wanted to end on a high with Z. I thought that was a good end to the series."

Feiner sells the posters on her website, and says while it was originally intended for children, it has been popular with adults, too.

"I've had a lot of adults wanting to put it up in their house, which I feel quite humbled by, because I feel like it's a discussion piece for adults and kids," she says.

Several schools have also ordered the Aussie Legends Alphabet, and now Feiner is hoping to turn it into a book.

"I've had a great response, and I'd really love to get it into lots of classrooms, that would be one of my aims," Feiner says.

"I tend to dream big, so I would love if it wound up framed in every kid's room and classroom in Australia."

This new children's book honours victims of the Orlando massacre
Promised Land is a gay fairy tale for children that features a prince who falls in love with a young farmhand.
Meet the creatives changing the narrative around Indigenous Australians
It's not just McDonald's and Nike who use clever creative agencies to help spread their message. Two Aboriginal agencies have made it their mission to spread stories to help people heal and challenge racist stereotypes that often exist around Indigenous communities.
This local photography project is shining a light on community diversity
My People My Tribe is a new photography project showcasing the diversity of Australia's LGBTQIA+ community. Sam Leighton-Dore spoke to the duo behind the passion project that shares both the experiences and bodies of Australia's queer community.
What does diversity do to kids' brains?
There’s some intriguing new brain science going on that might tell us interesting things about racial prejudice.