Woah, see what math can do to letters? Try Font Dissection.

NETNARR is seen in both letter form, and the 6x6 dissected form.

In these fonts, each letter or digit or ampersand can be dissected (cut into pieces such that those pieces re-arrange) into a 6 × 6 square. The dissections all happen to be polyomino dissections, and they allow translation, rotation, and reflection in the piece re-arrangement. There are three different fonts, each using up to 2, 3, or 4 pieces in each dissection. Of course, with more pieces, it is easier to get nicer-looking letters. The 4-piece font uses some disconnected pieces (but still each piece moves as a single unit), while the 2- and 3-piece fonts use connected pieces. The 4-piece font is the only one where we achieve uniform letter heights.

Origin. The 3- and 4-piece font come from a draft of The Art of Computer Programming, volume 4, pre-fascicle 9B “A Potpourri of Puzzles”, where Knuth poses (and solves) two exercises in mathematical/puzzle font design. See Knuth’s December 2018 profile in the New York Times. These fonts were originally presented at Knuth’s 80th Birthday Party in January 2018.

See if you can hide a word in a dissected font.


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