studio catherine griffiths


One of the ThreeSix print process posters by MuirMcNeil


FF ThreeSix


Typographica’s tweet got me curious. I felt competent and compelled to write about Klim Type Foundry’s Pitch, but was slow off the mark, Pitch had gone already — of course. Stephen encouraged me to choose another from 2012. My first urge was to write on a typeface I knew inside-out as a typographer, having used and explored its abilities. But none on the list, besides Pitch, fit this criteria.

Then I spotted ThreeSix by Hamish Muir and Paul McNeil, or rather, FF ThreeSix, as released by FontFont in 2012.

I don’t own the family of six typefaces in eight weights — not yet — so this review is a probe, as a viewer or reader might experience, rather than based on a first-hand exploration as a licence-holder/type-user.

Before delving too deeply, I allowed my connection with this compelling (and slightly overwhelming) optical and geometric type system that unabashedly transcends time and space, to come to the fore. I was immediately transported back to the hey-days of Hamish Muir, Mark Holt and Simon Johnston’s 8vo, their experimental magazine Octavo, posters for The Hacienda, Factory Records, the typeface Tephra (developed in concert with Dalton Maag) for Interact and later the Flux music festival. All were projects that profoundly shaped the language and culture of graphic design. Nostalgia blanketed me with the strangely familiar. In 2009, Bruno Maag composed his name in the eruptive Tephra to accompany his lecture and workshop at TypeSHED11, a typography symposium in New Zealand that I co-organised with Italy-based Simone Wolf. Again, I was beamed back to “those” days.

ThreeSix is masterfully layered with experience and intellect combined with a strong urge to invent a language system out of things geometric and spatial, using the simplest of rules. Intrinsic to this experimentation, is what I refer to as a “Sol LeWitt” — a certain obsessiveness that just won’t go away.

Most liberating is where FF ThreeSix heads off into the extremes: the reductive abstraction of 31 018 Thin, or the bubbling forms of 31 144 Black (used in the Design Museum exhibition poster Wim Crouwel A Graphic Odyssey). These wondrously organic constructions are far-out, non-conformist, and challenge the comfort zone. They are already developing the next one: FourTwo.

I can’t wait to see where the future development of the 1974-designed 20:20 takes MuirMcNeil — and us.

Catherine Griffiths, 2013


04 writing & critique


An installation on an installation on an installation ...
Artist statement, »catherine griffiths : SOLO IN [ ] SPACE« A documentation, Pocca, CHINA
September 2021

Porto Design Summer School 2017
Looking back on the fifth edition
April 2018

Notes from ‘Designing the perfect photobook’
A short talk as part of a panel discussion, PhotobookNZ
March 2016

A meditation
Sir Ian Athfield, 1940 — 2015
by Catherine Griffiths
Architectural Centre, NZ
April 2015

The Design Kids interview
The Design Kids, Jul 2015

A Playlist : CG >> CG
by Catherine Griffiths
DPAG Late Breakfast Show, NZ, Aug 2014

Body, Mind, Somehow: The Text Art of Catherine Griffiths
by Gregory O’Brien
Art New Zealand #150, NZ, 2014

Nothing in Mind
by Chloe Geoghegan
typ gr ph c, Aug 2014

typ gr ph c in Strips Club
by Catherine Griffiths
Strips Club journal, Mar 2014

In the Neighbourhood
by Catherine Griffiths
Desktop #294, Australia, 2013

Interview by Heath Killen
Desktop #294, Australia, 2013

FF ThreeSix
by Catherine Griffiths
Typographica, Mar 2013

A note on the D-card
by Catherine Griffiths
Apr 2013

Shes Got Legs
by Lee Suckling
Urbis, NZ, Jan 2013

Truly, No Idea
by Catherine Griffiths
for Flash Forward, Desktop, Australia, Nov 2012

Look for the purple lining
by Catherine Griffiths
Eye Blog, UK, Mar 2012

The Big Idea, NZ, Jun 2011

Shots in the air
by Catherine Griffiths
Eye Blog, UK, Jan 2011

John & Eye
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign 110, NZ, Jan 2011

Quite a Blast
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign, NZ, Jan 2011

Inner-City Modality
by Mercedes Vicente
ProDesign, NZ, Aug 2010

Beautiful World of Typography
by Catherine Griffiths
excerpt from a talk, Govett-Brewster Gallery, NZ, Jun 2009

For the record
by Catherine Griffiths
Introduction to TypeSHED11, NZ, Feb 2009

Locating Our Feet
by Catherine Griffiths
Threaded, NZ, Oct 2008

Notes on Feijoa
by Catherine Griffiths
ProDesign, NZ, Apr 2007

Life in Italics
by Helen Walters
Print, New York, Sep-Oct 2006

Writing by Types
by Justine Clark
Artichoke, Australia, Apr 2003

FF ThreeSix

by Catherine Griffiths

Typeface review for Typographica: Typefaces of 2012, Mar 2013


related links

MuirMcNeil, ThreeSix


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