I'm trying to make flags for all my fictional countries. On some of these flags, it makes a great deal of sense to use a crest, similar to the real flags of Andorra and Spain. A lot of these crests use words as an integral part of the crest.

I would like to make crests like these, but I realized that (considering it was a fantasy world) it makes no sense to use the latin alphabet, or any real alphabet for that matter. I was wondering; would using the Latin alphabet to write a message (written in a fictional language) make any sense at all?

I have no plans to start constructing an alphabet. It would be a considerable amount of work for a very small issue and the story and world-building doesn't rely on it at all.

In a fantasy world, there's no good reason that the characters would end up similar, but it seems like a waste of time to create an entire alphabet just for the use of crests on flags. I'm wondering how to proceed.

So I was wondering if it makes any sense to use a real alphabet. The language would be fictional, as that is fairly easy (throw a few syllables together) but the alphabet would be latin, which realistically makes no sense for a completely removed setting. Does it make sense to use real alphabets for fantasy languages on map or emblems?

  • 1
    Welcome to Writing.SE Sl0wDeathUI. Please check out our tour and help center. I am a bit confused by your question. The Latin alphabet aka Roman alphabet is what you're using to ask this question. There are old style fonts and a few tweaks to the letter shapes over the years (plus that whole "V" for "U" thing) but it's basically the same alphabet used by English and most other European languages. I looked at the Andorra flag and the lettering is identical to ordinary modern Roman letters. So what exactly are you asking? Is it about making up a language? In that case, go for it.
    – Cyn
    May 16, 2019 at 17:22
  • You appear to be asking "does it make sense for fantasy maps to use the same character set?" But it is somewhat unclear. If that is what you are asking you should edit the question to make it clearer.
    – linksassin
    May 20, 2019 at 7:35
  • That's a lot clearer now, thank you. And I have to say, it appears to be more of an artwork question than a writing one. Yes, we have a tag for artwork here and allow such questions, but only when they're connected to the writing project. Will these be illustrating a book? Or??
    – Cyn
    May 20, 2019 at 19:11
  • I'll admit, i didn't realise that. It does seem like it would fit more there. And no, I'm not illustrating it, it's more just for background worldbuilding. I'm only doing this because i have exams right now and can't really work on the main body of the book. I think it's a good idea to keep doing something with the project as a whole so it doesn't go out of my head. Thanks anyway! May 20, 2019 at 19:58
  • I think after the recent edit this seems more clear and for me this is about a main aspect of creating a fictional book. While one could argue that it's more about the aesthetic aspects of flags (there is also a Graphics Design StackExchange by the way - might be worth to check out their site and maybe post a few of your ideas there after checking their help center and a few of their questions to make sure it's on-topic) I think this is useful for many people creating a fantasy book and thinking about how to depict fantasy languages in their writing.
    – Secespitus
    May 20, 2019 at 20:15

2 Answers 2


Using a different alphabet has huge problems. (I've tried it and it kept being a nightmare, particularly when I wanted to publish what I had written.)

In the same way that characters who can't speak English because England doesn't exist use it (take for example, The Lord of the Rings), using the Latin alphabet isn't a problem for making up mottos and the like. Readers accept it unconsciously.

However, consider not using a fictional language at all. Readers are more likely to respond to 'All Things in Their Time' than 'bls thslsida hikp dems laogas' (which translates as 'All Things in Their Time').

  • 1
    +1 for the point about publishing when there are unusual characters around.
    – NofP
    May 16, 2019 at 20:47

You use an alphabet that the readers can read for the same reason you don't have all dialog in foreign languages. It just gets in the way of telling the story.

There is an assumed translation for the reader.

Anything else just transforms the work from a story into a written puzzle for those handful of people who enjoy that sort of thing.

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