Typographic Study: Square with 3×3 Grid [Ex. AH-25]

Fig. AH-25-2.1a

14/04/09 – Formal typographic study of the square with 3×3 grid and variations in ratio/proportion and orientation.

1.0 Figure (schema): square 3×3 (1) fig. 1.0

2.0 Variation: (48 core) fig. 2.0

  • 2.1 Proportion/Ratio: (5 core) fig. 2.1a
    • 2.1.1 9:9 (1)
    • 2.1.2 8:1 (3)
    • 2.1.3 7:2 (7)
    • 2.1.4 6:3 (15)
    • 2.1.5 5:4 (23) *positive/negative inversion follows
  • 2.2 Direction/orientation: (30 core) fig. 2.2a & fig. 2.2b
    • 2.2.1 omni-directional (4)
    • 2.2.2 bi-directional (5): i) bi-symmetrical (4) ii) bi-asymmetrical (1)
    • 2.2.3 uni-directional (40): i) uni-symmetrical (23) ii) uni-asymmetrical (17)

Fig. AH-25-1.0

fig. 1.0 – Square figure with 9 equal divisions delineated by a 3×3 grid.

Fig. AH-25-2.1a

fig. 2.0 – Overview of the 49 core variations.

Fig. AH-25-2.1b

fig. 2.1a – Core group displaying variation according to ratio/proportion.

Fig. AH-25-2.2.0

fig. 2.2a – Core group displaying variation according to orientation.

Fig. AH-25-2.2b

fig. 2.2b – All variations organized by orientation excluding asymmetrical reversals and positive-negative inversions.

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2 Responses to “Typographic Study: Square with 3×3 Grid [Ex. AH-25]”

  1. Ian Glennie says:

    Found this very interesting. Have you ever tried it with a 4×4 grid or are the permutations just too numerous? I find it interesting to think about the difference between an even number (symmetrical) grid and an odd number (centred) grid.

    Best wishes

  2. Oliver Tomas says:


    Thank you for the comment.

    I’ve also been working with an eight section grid that includes diagonals. The more complex the grid, the more difficult it becomes managing the variations manually.

    However, to my mind, you can gain a unique understanding for these variations only by working through the possibilities manually. Employing software will give you quick and exact results, but will not provide a thorough understanding.

    Unfortunately, this project has been on hold for me for some time now. I’m hoping to return to it in the near future.


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Oliver Tomas

  • Design historian and archivist based in Vancouver, Canada.
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