Hi, Mariano,
 
There seems to be a vague symbolism of the kind you describe in the Roman alphabet, and little wonder, since if characters are somewhat mnemonic (say, a round shape for a rounded vowel) they are easier to learn; also, in the course of history new letters have sometimes arisen as variants of already existing ones corresponding to phonetically similar sounds, e.g. <U>, <V>, <W>, or <I>, <J> in the Roman script, or omikron and omega in Greek. Latin originally had the same letter <C> for [k] and [g], and <G> was introduced as a modification of <C> by Emperor Claudius. But generally the phonetic value of a letter is not predictable from its shape -- note the characteristic differences between the Roman script and closely related writing systems (Greek, Etruscan, Cyrillic) or very different phonetic values of the same character or combination of characters in various languages using the same script.
 
A consistent phonetic alphabet showing in an iconic fashion the articulatory features of sounds was invented in the mid 19th century (ca. 1867) by the Scottish teacher Alexander Melville Bell, father of Alexander Graham Bell (the same who emigrated to America, invented the telephone and established the Bell Telephone Company, now AT&T). It was called Bell's Visible Speech, and had its ardent enthusiasts, including some British phoneticians of the time and George Bernard Shaw, who mentions it in "Pygmalion":
 
HIGGINS [to Pickering]. ... I'll shew you how I make records. We'll set her talking; and I'll take it down first in Bell's Visible Speech; then in broad Romic; and then we'll get her on the phonograph ...
 
The character of Higgins owes much to the great phonetician Henry Sweet, who modified BVS to create the even more scientific Organic Speech system.
 
Bell's and Sweet's proposals did not become as popular as the IPA (most people are traditionalists and prefer an elaborate version of something familiar to a revolutionary new start) and is now largely forgotten. Phoneticians worldwide understand the IPA notation and nobody seems to be eager to abandon it in favour of something more rational.
 
I've found some useful online information relevant to you query.
 
http://web.idirect.com/~nfhome/change.htm
 
http://www.percepp.demon.co.uk/alphabet.htm
 
http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/ndlpcoop/moahtml/title/lists/nora_V107I220.html
 
Piotr
 
 
----- Original Message -----
From: Mariano de Vierna y Carles-Tolr√°
To: phoNet@egroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2001 6:53 PM
Subject: [phoNet] graphic symbolism

So, i would like to know if you know any study or bibliography about that subject and if you have though or fund that kind of symbolism.

I think it would be usefull for making a phonetic alfabet with graphic symbolism motivated in human psicology rather than increasing the number of arbitrary symbols.

And is a suggestion for making new letters and, or, alfabets to make them with graphic symbolism.