Possibilities of Typography in Flatland

According to the laws of Flatland all the shapes have to be geometrically correct, which means that type as a form would be something of a banned matter, apart from the letter forms or typefaces that would resemble geometricaly correct shapes such as triangles, squares, polygons and circles!

Here are a few examples of how some of those could be worked out. Please note that for example we can put two triangles together to form a letter “B” but we could not form a letter “P” from a square and triangle as they belong to different social classes in the world of “Flatland”. Or we also could not make letter “T” out of two triangles as placing a sharp end close to someone else could easyly kill them! Refer to the illustrations below to understand this more.

Shapes Handrendered Illustration HERE.



If we could develop a sideline situation that would allow us to break some of the rules of Flatland – For example if in case of a nuclear war in flatland mutations occurred and cause for mix of classes to happen creating forms unknown before. Here is an example of how it may look:

Display Typeface 1 by Christopher Murton

Also please not that such a scenario could be used to represent 5th dimension which is a progression in time that differs from the given matter in the book – like hypertext novel.

Hypertext fiction is a genre of electronic literature, characterized by the use of hypertext links which provides a new context for non-linearity in “literature” and reader interaction.



Lets for a second discard the rule that irregular shapes(type) is forbidden in Flatland, what rule would apply then and how that would effect hierarchy of type?

As Chapter 3 of the novel explains – “Our Women are Straight Lines…Our Middle Class consists of Equilateral or Equal-Sided Triangles…Our Professional Men and Gentlemen are Squares (to which class I myself belong) and Five-Sided Figures or Pentagons…Next above these come the Nobility, of whom there are several degrees, beginning at Six-Sided Figures, or Hexagons, and from thence rising in the number of their sides till they receive the honourable title of Polygonal, or many-Sided. Finally when the number of the sides becomes so numerous, and the sides themselve so small, that the figure cannot be distinguished from a circle, he is included in the Circular or Priestly order; and this is the highest class of all.”

Taking in the rules of class order described above we could devise a system that would be  appropriate for typography hierarchy and typeface selection.

Captions/Page Numbers etc.(Lower Class) = Triangular Typefaces

Peking Typeface by Marius Joseph

Body Text (Middle Class) = Square Typefaces

Back To Heavy Coat Fat Ground Typeface by Manuel Viergutz

Subheads (Upper Middle Class/ Professionals) – Hexagon Typaces

Hexagon Typeface by Quihan Wang

Headlines (Nobility and Priests) – Circular Typefaces

Bobo Typaface by Tim Ryan


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