I’ve long thought there was something odd about the numeral 8 painted on this apartment block (in Jurong West in western Singapore; see picture on left).
Indeed there is: the 8 has its visual weight in the wrong place because the painters obviously held the template upside-down by mistake.
In the picture on the right, you see the same numerals in the same typeface, i.e. Times New Roman italic. Note that 8 has a heavy stroke going from right down to left, not left down to right. The reason for this is simple: most calligraphically based typefaces were designed with the edged pen in mind, perhaps even drawn with one. If you write the numeral 8 with an edged pen, you’ll find that the shade falls precisely where you see it in the image on the right.