Unbelievable 100-year-old font can be read both backwards and forwards

The bi-directional typeface
(Image credit: Scott H Perky/ Future)

It's not every day we stumble across innovative fonts that are over 100 years old, but this typeface from 1909 has certainly sparked our interest. This special font can be read both backwards and forwards.

At first glance, the typeface looks like something straight out of one of the Zodiac killer's letters but the bizarre design certainly isn't as sinister, and is far easier to decipher. The font that can be read forwards and backwards was designed by Scott H Perky, and is said to help "lessen fatigue" and "consequent headache" by helping to keep the brain stimulated. Each letter in the typeface has a vertical line of symmetry that makes it legible backwards. If you are looking for some font inspiration, then make sure you check out our roundup of the best free fonts.

The bi-directional font

The first three lines of Perky's patent was written in his typeface by Randy Ludacer (Image credit: Randy Ludacer)

The font was spotted by Weird Universe this month, and has been coined 'bi-directional' in reference to the fact it can be read forward and backwards. In the patent for the font, Perky describes the font as being able to prevent "senseless skippings", and says that, "To students, researchers and others whose lives are cast among books, any device which promises to … lessen fatigue of the optical tract, and consequent headache and brain fag [mental exhaustion], will appear of unusual importance." We have to agree and are sure this font would've come in handy during our days of studying (much like the ingenious photo-to-text note-taking iPhone hack).

As it turns out, bi-directional fonts have been very popular over history, and as David Wilder pointed out for Randy Ludacer in his post about the font, it's seen in lots of ancient scripture and inscription. Wilder explains that in many ancient texts, "Every other line of writing is flipped or reversed, with reversed letters. Rather than going left-to-right as in modern English, or right-to-left as in Hebrew and Arabic, alternate lines in boustrophedon must be read in opposite directions."

We think the font is amazing, and even a little spooky – as it reminds us of the carvings you would see on rune stones. If you are on the hunt for some interesting fonts to use in your creative projects, then why not have a look at our roundup of the best sites to download free fonts, or check out our favourite font pairings.

Buy fonts from myfonts.com

Buy fonts from myfonts.com
Find thousands of fonts for all kinds of projects at myfonts.com by Monotype. It has over 130,000 fonts, from brush fonts to display fonts, and more than 900 of them are completely free.

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Amelia Bamsey
Staff Writer

Amelia is Creative Bloq’s Staff Writer. After completing a degree in Popular Music and a Master’s in Song Writing, Amelia began designing posters, logos, album covers and websites for musicians. She now enjoys covering a range of topics on Creative Bloq, including posters, optical illusions, logos (she's a particular fan of logo Easter eggs), gaming and illustration. In her free time, she relishes in the likes of art (especially the Pre-Raphaelites), photography and literature. Amelia prides herself on her unorthodox creative methods, her Animal Crossing island and her extensive music library.