Tongue-twisting Typography

Word games and type design are brought together for Text Gallery’s Imaginary Menagerie show, which launches in London this week.

Nod Young

Imaginary Menagerie (such a satisfying title to say out loud) sees 19 designers from around the world given an open brief to explore the more tongue-twisting elements of language through typography.

Brian Webb

Some have gone for traditional tongue-twisters, such as Brian Webb’s exploration of Cross Crossing Cautiously and Hand & Letterpress/Mary Plunkett’s look at red and yellow.

Hand and Eye Letterpress and Mary Plunkett
Hand and Eye Letterpress and Mary Plunkett

More experimental works include Barnbrook Design’s visual reproduction of hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia (the fear of the number 666) and Jim Sutherland’s work Parastratiosphecomyia, which sees the Latin name for the soldier fly applied to an anti-insect light.

Barnbrook Design

As well as English tongue-twisters, there are also submissions drawn from Italian, Spanish, Russian and other languages, such as Italian group Happycentro’s Latin-based palindrome Sator Square.

Jim Sutherland
Jim Sutherland

Text Gallery has also created a video of the designers trying (and only sometimes failing) to pronounce the titles of their own works out loud.

Imaginary Menagerie is at Text Gallery, London WC1 from 20 October-19 November

Mat Dolphin - Kubrick's Cock
Mat Dolphin – Kubrick’s Cock
Hide Comments (2)Show Comments (2)
  • 5555555555 November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    poop is yummy

  • Tongue Twisters November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

    Great list of tongue twisters here!


  • Post a comment

Latest articles


Michael Wolff: “Why all the poor logos?”

Michael Wolff scrutinises recent logos which he believes have fallen short and offer little more than “visual nonsense” as he assesses where they’ve gone wrong and how they could have been designed differently.


Offset Sheffield: 5 talks to catch

Design conference Offset has been going since 2008, taking over Dublin for three days a year with inspirational, educational and amusing talks from an array of well-known and up-and-coming designers. Having started up a London festival last year, it hits Sheffield for the first time in 2016, and will feature 60 speakers across two stages. We’ve put together a handful of must-see talks.