Macula font by
Jacques Le Bailly


Dutch graphic designer Jacques Le Bailly has designed a typeface of impossible shapes inspired by the optical trickery of artist M.C. Escher (+ slideshow).

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

Jacques Le Bailly's Macula font is based on the Penrose triangle, a shape that appears to have depth but would be impossible to reproduce in three dimensions.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

Like the Penrose triangle and the mathematically inspired paintings of M.C. Escher, the typeface's three-dimensional appearance could only exist as a flat image.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

"To keep the typeface lively every single character, down to the punctuation and floating accents, needed to have two versions, as if looked at from two different viewpoints," Le Bailly explained to FontFeed.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

"Often the simple letters were the most difficult, because they offered very few possibilities or starting points," he added.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

Some of the letters are less complex in order to create a more cohesive and attractive typeface, while the ampersand and the @ symbol have been given extra detailing to make them stand out.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

The name macula refers to the part of the the eye that's responsible for central vision, and was chosen by the designer because he suffers from a related defect in his right eye.

Macula by Jacques Le Bailly

We've previously featured a font designed for the Royal College of Art by Neville Brody and Margaret Calvert and a font developed by Nokia to work in any language – see all font designs on Dezeen.

Update: Le Bailly also gave a recent interview about Macula to Yves Peters at The Font Feed.

  • As a tidbit, the letters are actually more closely related to Anno’s Alphabet, an amazing children’s book I grew up with. Worth a look.

  • Sir Roger Penrose would get a kick out of it :)

  • Jacques Le Bailly

    Hi Dezeen. Thank you for publishing an article on Macula. It is a privilege to be on your influential magazine.

    If you want to read more on the process of making Macula, you can find more on this article on FontFeed by Yves Peters.

    From which some of the phrases used in this article were quoted from.

    Fonthausen (Jacques Le Bailly)

  • Seb Miller

    I know that I could form a real life physical example of their letter ‘C’. Create a ‘J’ with clay/putty and then twist the top arond to make the ‘C’. Easy.

    I gave up reading on this article after that.

  • For sure, it’s very impressive, conceptually and artistically. I like the creation of the letter C.

  • fonthausen

    For all the lovers and haters, did you know Macula can be purchased as webfonts?