Can you make sense of this abstract 3D font?

Compared to the soft yet modern beauty of ThreeSix, Panopticon – a recent typeface by MuirMcNeil – looks modern and brutal. It's a 3D typeface that comes in four versions – the camera position shifting for each one.

"There is no inter-character spacing in Panopticon. The letterforms are designed to fit edge-to-edge in both horizontal and vertical dimensions," says Hamish Muir. "The layers in each Panopticon projection are designed to interact with one another."

The typeface is actually named after a type of prison designed in the 18th century by Jeremy Bentham. From one position, it's possible to observe all the prisoners in their cells. Viewed flat, its forms are very abstract, perhaps even a bit alien. However, by changing the colour of certain planes within the letter forms, more sense can be made of them, and the effect can be a lot more pleasant.

MuirMcNeil has designed a poster to promote it. Muir explains: "The screen-printed poster explores one such interaction by overlaying and offsetting the word 'panopticon' – split onto four lines – using overprinting to emphasise the abstract nature of the letterforms, which are constructed from a set of core common elements.

"In this poster we're trying to locate the edge between reading and pure form, and depending on lighting conditions and viewing distance, the poster reveals the word 'panopticon' or fragments to a pattern of abstract geometrical shapes."

Visit the MuirMcNeil site, where £60 gets you a five-user licence to use Panopticon and a silk-screened poster.

Words: Garrick Webster

This article originally appeared in Computer Arts issue 229.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of seven full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Deals Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Digital Arts and Design Editor Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Abi Le Guilcher, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.