By Derek Birdsall (designer) and Jim Davies (writer)

I'm in reflective mood. Glancing back. Pondering how I got here. Who I am. What I stand for. What's that you say? Indulgent? Well it's late. I've had - imbibed - a few drinks. I'm sitting here idly, alone with my thoughts. Gently rolling the I's in the bottom of my glass. Where's the harm in that? So where was I? Ah yes. You'll find this quite interesting. My background's quite cosmopolitan, you see. I'm part Phoenician, part Greek. Some say there's even a bit of Egyptian in me. Of course I was adopted by some Romans later, but that's another story. So yes, I'm quite the international playboy. The Omar Sharif of the alphabet. I've even had several aliases in my time. Different identities. Nothing cloak and dagger about that, just a sign of the times. Way back, people called me Yodh. It actually means 'a hand bent at the wrist'. Not that there's anything limp-wristed about me, you understand. Oh no. I may be a bit intense, but I'm not that way inclined. I looked pretty good at the time, when I was going through my Greek phase, I straightened myself out a bit. I became more or less the fine, upstanding mark you all know and love today. And I changed my name again. This time to Iota. As in 'not one iota'. Because at that time I was the smallest letter around. Bloody sizeists, those Greeks. They invent democracy and then think they can go around calling everybody names. I've really gone off the Iota aka now. It implies there's not a lot to me. I may look a bit simple, but actually, I'm a complex character. Illustrious. Imposing. Iconic. I like to think of myself as the purest, most perfect member of my family. A single, sleek, stroke. A magic, minimalist mark. Immaculate. Impeccable. I and mighty. By the by, did you know that if you took just me and my cousin O, a half-decent type designer would have all the clues they needed to put together whole alphabet? That, I think you'll agree, shows just how influential I am. But I digress. You're wondering about my dot, aren't you? I can just tell by the way you're looking at me. Eye-to-I contact. It's the finishing touch. The icing on the cake. Well, I have to admit I'm a bit hazy on this one. They say people started to dot their I's in the 13th century. So that I didn't get lost on the page. As if. After all, I am the fourth most popular letter in the English language. Just wait till I see that little bastard e again. I can tell you what my dot is called though. It's a 'tittle'. Somewhere between a titter and a nipple. Tittle ye not. Aye, it's been one hell of a journey. Lesser letters could get tired just thinking about it. But not me. I'm indefatigable. Incorrigible. I crop up everywhere. In chemistry, I stand for iodine. In maths I'm the imaginary unit, a complex number whose square is -1. Whatever that means. But you get my point. I have my fingers in lots of pies. I get around. There was even a Swedish film called I, which came out in the sixties. A bit obscure, I grant you, but how many letters can say that? OK, you've got your X-Men and Dial M for Murder, but they're hardly the stars of the show, are they? And you might have noticed that I've reinvented myself a bit recently. Yes, I'm a thoroughly modern, up-to-the-minute kind of guy - I mean i. There I am, sitting pretty on iMacs and iPods, and all the rest of those dinky iThings, fronting the digital revolution. I do go on, I know. Looks are deceptive. You'd think it'd be less is more with me. The ultimate modernist mark. Mr Stripe. The one-liner. But I am what I am, and I like to be inclusive. Think about it. I'm right there, insignificant ickle insect. If the mood takes me, I can be inventive or inspirational. Inebriated or insouciant. Idealistic or idiotic. Iota? What did those kebab eaters know? It gets me quite irate just thinking about it. But that's enough about me. Or should that be I? What about you...

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