At first glance, ZXX is just a decorative typeface designed in a style of well-known CAPTCHA. Frankly, we thought so when we saw it for the first time. However, it appeared to be much more interesting. The typeface was developed by the Seoul-based designer Sang Mun for his final project at the Rhode Island School of Design. The project focuses on the growing problem of privacy on the Internet and personal data protection from intelligence agencies and programs, such as the much-talked-of PRISM, as well as from groups of intruders and loner hackers. The font works after CAPTCHA method, creating distorted letters, so it is very difficult to read it without human analytical thinking.
Of course, ZXX can not solve the problem of confidentiality of private correspondence: for this purpose there is nothing better then cryptographic encryption. However, it is not its objective either. Sang Mun himself expresses his goal the following way: ‘ZXX is a call to action, both practically and symbolically, to raise questions about privacy. But it represents a broader urgency: How can design be used politically and socially for the codification and de-codification of people’s thoughts? What is a graphic design that is inherently secretive? How can graphic design reinforce privacy? And, really, how can the process of design engender a proactive attitude towards the future — and our present for that matter?’
The title ZXX is not accidental – at the Library of Congress this alphabetic code denotes the texts that are not understandable or language of which is unknown. For example, the famous Voynich manuscript is denoted by this code.
Even if we do not take into account the basic function of ZXX, it may be interesting as a beautiful and unusual decorative typeface for a graphic designer; it is perfect for designing posters, pamphlets, books and other products devoted to cryptography and protection of personal data. At the moment, there are six different cuts: Sans, Bold, Camo, False, Noise, and Xed, which can be combined with each other.
ZXX is a free font, and anyone can download it on the project’s website.