Is it a game or is it a typeface? Why, it’s both! The History Typeface is made up of 21 individual typefaces that can be stacked, turned on or off, flipped, gibbered, transposed or otherwise manipulated to generate thousands of unique letter forms. Because the the typefaces that make up History share the same metrics, layers play nicely with each other and you shouldn’t be surprised if a sample of the type shifts from absurd to elegant with a mere layer of serifs turned on or off.
History was designed by Peter Bil’ak, who (sporadically) worked on the typeface(s) over the course of 15 years. The name History is less of a joke than it may initially seem, as each layer of type connotes a particular historic trend. For instance, the “A” in the image above has some pretty fantastic serifs that are modeled after “15th century humanist calligraphy.” And the beginning layer, layer 1, is described by the designer, himself, as “hairline skeletons of letters inspired by Roman inscriptional capitals from year 80 AD.”
Fortunately for us, his research and work have created a type system that’s delightful enough to confuse with a game. So play it here.