In the six font sets of the ThreeSix system, optical and structural interventions are implemented in staged progressions on the following key typographic characteristics:
Letterform: the shape of individual glyphs.
Stroke modulation: the visual balance between horizontal strokes and vertical strokes.
Junctions: the optical effects at the intersections of two or more strokes.
Weight: the progressive incrementation of bulk on the skeleton of the letter.
Spacing: the fit of the forms in sequences.
These compensatory visual modifications are visible at large sizes, but at small sizes, the eye perceives only the resulting overall effects on bodies of text rather than their specific causes.
ThreeSix works within the restrictive rules of geometry. All of the typefaces are based on a grid of 36 unit squares subdivided into 9 units and are constructed using only vertical or horizontal straight lines and circular arcs. Cap-height, x-height, ascent and descent measurements are consistent across all fonts and weights. The grid also determines character and word spacing, with all side-bearings and kerning pair values conforming to 9 unit increments.
Each font set has eight weights: 018 Ultra Light, 036 Extra Light, 054 Light, 072 Regular, 090 Medium, 108 Bold, 124 Heavy, 144 Black. Weight is incremented by ‘contour mapping’ the regular weight’s 72 unit stroke width in 18 unit steps. In each font set, the vertical strokes of all weights align on a central axis. As the fonts become bolder, the consequent decrease in side-bearing values tightens the overall fit, emphasizing perceived changes in weight.