Sometimes, we graphic designers like to let our inner nerd out into the open just a wee bit. While these periods of freedom are typically short-lived (and then we go back to our “artsy” self), they are thoroughly enjoyed altogether. But that really doesn’t have to be the case; instead, graphic design and “nerdiness” can be wonderfully combined to create some great artwork. Not convinced? Check out this fun website where a main course of graphic design artwork is served with a side of geek. In fact, made up of 4701348 bytes pure Ascii, the Ascii Art Dictionary is just what any designer/programmer dreams of.

Organized alphabetically by the first letter of the design, the Ascii Art Dictionary’s collection ranges from aardvark to zulu, with everything from “journey to the moon,” “Excalibur,” and “cracker” in between. However, not only is this art directory wonderfully and easily organized, but for many of the illustration titles there exist more than one piece of artwork. For example, under the “Jewish” subtitle can be found Ascii art illustrations for a Torah scroll, prayer shawl, and several greetings wishing a “happy new year.” Similarly, the “llama” option leads to Ascii art pictures of everything from a “stick llama dreaming” to a series of llama illustrations showing llamas facing several different directions.

Contributed by numerous graphic designer artists, the Ascii Art Dictionary includes a list of several of the main artists behind the project. While the list is not comprehensive, it certainly does lead to the exposure of a good number of Ascii- inspired graphic artists. There is also a “resources” link which brings designers to a list of Ascii art tutorials, perfect for the beginning designer wishing to dabble in this programming inspired graphic form.

Perhaps one of the most unique parts of the dictionary is its “Animations” section. Much less extensive than the non-animated artwork, the animations depicted on the site are still entertaining. Created at a time when Ascii art animations were about to become almost extinct (and when Javascript animations were soon to become all the rage), the animations listed include a charming little “Surprise Kiss on Stage” and “Station Traffic.”

Overall, the Ascii Art Dictionary is a great resource for any designer working on a programming-related project. Since the home page to this site is beautifully organized and includes simple links to information regarding copyrights and other legal issues, you can feel safe (and informed) about just how much of the designs you can garner inspiration from without breaching any legal boundaries.