3 x 3

By Deane Barker on May 19, 2009

3×3: I love this.

3×3 is a typeface based on a 3×3 bitmap matrix.

3×3 is claimed to be the smallest readable bitmap font, with the major exception of ‘2’ being indistinguishable from ‘z’, ‘9’ from ‘q’, and ‘5’ from ‘s’.

I think Blend has a new corporate identity font…



  1. It seems to me that two of the problems could easily be solved as follows:

    • for 2, add the bit in the lower left.
    • for Q, fill all 9 bits (representing an upper-case Q – a circle with the line through it)

    5 and S have me stumped.

  2. @cmadler, adding the lower-left bit to 2 will give you 1. I’m… not sure that having 2 look like 1 is better than having 2 look like z. Confusing combinations of numbers and letters are much less frequent than combinations of numbers with numbers.

    The Q solution will work, though I’m not sure anyone will be easily convinced that a full black square is a Q without getting the explanation first. One of the advantages of the font as-is seems to me that a text written with it (at normal size, not the expanded one previewed here) will be readable.

  3. I’ve always said a really good designer only really needs four fonts. Times, Helvetica, Courier and Helvetica.

  4. solve q by doing o, and remove the bottom right bit, to indicate the line through the capital Q.

    solve z by filling left and right middle bits, like putting a line through it in hand writing to make the same distinction.

    solve 5 by shifting the middle and the bottom row one bit to the right, then fill the middle bit, and possibly the top and bottom left bits. This is probably the weakest one.

    There is also an issue with o and 0 – could solve by filling in the middle of the 0, so like it has a line through it (and also, completely black square suggests nothing, zero, nada).

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