What is a word, exactly?

In an exclusive piece for Creative Review, Pentagram’s Naresh Ramchandani and his colleagues Zuki Sedgley and Ashley Johnson write about the three words that mean the most to them

A word is to communication what an atom is to science: the smallest piece of meaning. A single, distinct unit of language, made up of a particular combination of letters placed in a particular order to form a more or less unique shape and sound.

Like a piece of code, that shape and sound stands for an object or action or feeling or idea, and helps us recognise it, relate to it and communicate it to others.

In what it is, and what it does, a word is an important and wonderful thing.