$197,430 raised out of $700,000
Start date
Jul 07, 2022
Close date
Aug 07, 2022

數碼化保存舊路牌字體 重現香港視覺文化記憶 Reviving Hong Kong’s collective memories by digitising the road sign typeface


The production of silk-screen printed signs is part of a day’s work at Stanley prison. (Hong Kong Yearbook 1983, Information Services Department)



An old road sign with the traditional writing method of the character 朗, a result of adequate preservation

1970 年,監獄署(今懲敎署)接受工務司署委託,爲港九各道路製作路牌及交通標誌;而在囚人士手造之中文字體被稱爲「監獄體」。自 1997 年,路牌製作工序電腦化;電腦字型路牌逐步取代舊式的監獄體路牌。監獄體大部份均爲舊字體(又稱「傳承字形」)寫法,與現時常見的電腦字型寫法有出入。惟近年起,有不少人誤以爲路牌上的監獄體爲錯字,甚至有區議員要求路政署「改正」。隨著路牌老化、道路翻新,這些極具懷舊風味的字體逐漸消失在我們眼前。

Since the 1970s, Hong Kong’s road signs have all been handmade by prisoners. The road signs manufactured before May 1997 were handcrafted. They feature a unique and distinct Chinese typeface that we now call Prison Gothic. As the road signs used to be manufactured by persons in custody, the text on the road signs were carved by hand, creating its unique look and feel.


數碼化及保育/Digitisation & Conservation

有見及此,道路硏究社於 2016 年發起「監獄體再現計劃」。將舊路牌以照片形式記錄下來,並將其數碼化成電腦字型。然而,集合全港僅餘六百塊的監獄體路牌,祇得 500 字左右,而常用漢字多達 7,000 字。因此我們透過以仿製形式擴充字庫,將其成爲一套能夠「活用」的電腦字型。

經歷五年開發,監獄體已接近開發完成;中文字數超過 8,000 字,滿足 99.9% 日常應用所需。現時透過衆籌方案贊助,卽可獲得監獄體 Medium 永久授權一套,並可用於商業用途。

The Prison Gothic Revival Programme was launched in 2016 by the Road Research Society. It aims to digitise the Chinese characters on the road signs, and mainly focuses on the styling of the text on the road signs in Hong Kong manufactured before 1997.

According to our research, there are now 500 remaining Prison Gothic signs, which only sums up to approximately 600 Chinese characters, making up less than 10% of the generally used character set.

After 5 years, our development of the Prison Gothic digital font is coming to an end and is ready for crowdfunding. The Prison Gothic font includes 8,000 characters, which should fulfil the 99.9% of frequently used Chinese words for your use in all scenarios. Your purchase of the font perks will entitle you to a perpetual license, granting you to use the font for personal and commercial purposes, bound by the EULA.






Prison Gothic uses traditional character form as well as including variant Chinese characters. These writing styles are different from how Chinese characters is written and shown today. It is what makes Prison Gothic so special and unique. 

Since computerisation of general publishing and the introduction of Chinese computer operating systems in 1990s, people started to use new forms of writing based on the standard typefaces provided by operating systems. The traditional characters are therefore left forgotten; some people even think that they are wrong!


結構及筆劃/Structure & Stroke


Prison Gothic has a tight zhonggong and a high visual centre (left). And because how the text on road signs were manufactured by hand, the utilization of glyph space is also unique (right). 



There are tapered shapes at the terminals of the strokes (left). The thickness of the strokes in complicated Chinese characters are maintained to mimic the original design of the lack of negative spaces (right).


八千常用漢字/8,000 characters included

監獄體電腦字體總字數多達 8,000 漢字,滿足日常所需。包括香港廣東話用字、拉丁字母、數字、注音符號及其他必備的標點符號。

The Prison Gothic font includes approximately 8,000 characters for fulfilling most use cases. Other than written Chinese, the character set also includes written Cantonese characters, Latin alphabets, numbers, Bopomofo and necessary punctuation marks.


變換異體功能/Alternate glyphs

由於是全人手製作,每一塊的監獄體路牌都可能會有不同的寫法。爲了追求原汁原味,字體利用 OpenType 的 Alternate Glyphs 功能,收錄監獄體各種變異寫法,務求完美重現視覺記憶。片段示範利用 Adobe Illustrator,切換字元成不同寫法。

Owing to the fully handmade nature of Prison Gothic road signs, the writing styles of some characters may differ from sign to sign. To keep the Prison Gothic font as original as possible, the Alternate Glyphs function available in OpenType is utilized to help users replicate what was shown in the road signs, as far as possible. This demonstration video shows Alternate Glyphs in practical use in Adobe Illustrator.


繪文字/Use of emoji encoding

監獄體利用 Emoji 編碼收錄路牌常見的圖案,單色及彩色一應俱全。

Emoji encoding is used by Prison Gothic to include common symbols shown in road signs, monotone and coloured.


凡購入標準或敎育方案,都可以獲得監獄體 Medium 永久授權一套,共 8,000 漢字,預計於 2022 年 11 月發行。並可用於商業用途;但不包括用於商標註冊,將字體檔案內嵌至網頁伺服器、電話應用程式,且不得將字體檔案傳送給第三方人士。

Supporters of the Standard and Education Perk can receive a licensed copy of Prison Gothic Medium with 8,000 characters, when it becomes available in November 2022. The licence will allow you to use Prison Gothic in most commercial scenarios. However, you are not allowed to use Prison Gothic in registered logos, or embed them in any websites or apps. You are also not allowed to distribute, give or resell the font to any other person.

敎育方案僅適用於目前在學、應屆畢業之學生及敎職員,不限年齡及學校所在地區。購買方案後,敬請拍攝學生證/學校職員證的正面及背面相片,並傳送至 prison.gothic@gmail.com,信件主旨爲「監獄體敎育方案驗證」以驗證身份。請確保照片淸晰可辨,否則我們可能不受理相關申請,會要求補繳費用。

The Education Perk is only available to current students, graduating students and staff, regardless of age and the location of the institution. 

After purchasing the perk, please take a photo of (or scan) both sides of your student/staff card and send it to prison.gothic@gmail.com, titled “Verification for Prison Gothic Education Perk”, using the same email address used to purchase the perk. 

Please ensure that the photographs you provide are clear and legible. If we are not able to identify that you are a current or graduating student or educational staff, we may reject your verification and ask for your payment for conversion to Standard Perk.


You can get Add-On Perks once you have made a purchase of any Prison Gothic Font Perks. Supporters in Hong Kong can enjoy free shipping with all add-on perks. Overseas supporters may check the checkout page for shipping fees.

監獄體Q版巴士/Prison Gothic Q Bus Models

(超限量!Extremely limited!) 


We are partnering up with Easy Access Production to bring you a limited perk, with the Prison Gothic themed Mercedes-Benz O305 Q Bus bundled with Prison Gothic and a Q Bus certificate. Only 100 Q Buses will be sold! 


路牌造型鎖匙扣/Road Sign Keychains

事隔三年,道路硏究社及富豪工作室再度合作推出路牌造型鎖匙扣。是次分爲香港、九龍、新界西、新界東四個套餐,16 塊鎖匙扣正反兩面合共 32 個香港地名!

After 3 years, we are partnering up with Volvo Workshop again to bring you 32 Hong Kong place names in 16 double-faced keychains, in four separate perks for your preference – Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, N.T. West and N.T. East. 

  • 香港(4塊鎖匙扣,8個地名)

    • 中環、灣仔
    • 北角、柴灣
    • 赤柱、香港仔
    • 堅尼地城、薄扶林
  • 九龍(4塊鎖匙扣,8個地名)

    • 油蔴地、尖沙咀
    • 旺角、大角咀
    • 深水埗、九龍城
    • 黃大仙、觀塘
  • 新界西(4塊鎖匙扣,8個地名)

    • 葵涌、靑衣
    • 荃灣、屯門
    • 元朗、天水圍
    • 深井、東涌
  • 新界東(4塊鎖匙扣,8個地名)

    • 粉嶺、上水
    • 沙田、大埔
    • 馬鞍山、小瀝源
    • 西貢、將軍澳


  • Hong Kong (8 place names in 4 keychains)

    • Central & Wan Chai
    • North Point & Chai Wan
    • Stanley & Aberdeen
    • Kennedy Town & Pokfulam
  • Kowloon (8 place names in 4 keychains)

    • Yau Ma Tei & Tsim Sha Tsui
    • Mong Kok & Tai Kok Tsui
    • Sham Shui Po & Kowloon City
    • Wong Tai Sin & Kwun Tong
  • N.T. West (8 place names in 4 keychains)

    • Kwai Chung & Tsing Yi
    • Tsuen Wan & Tuen Mun
    • Yuen Long & Tin Shui Wai
    • Sham Tseng & Tung Chung
  • N.T. East (8 place names in 4 keychains)

    • Fanling & Sheung Shui
    • Shatin & Tai Po
    • Ma On Shan & Siu Lek Yuen
    • Sai Kung & Junk Bay


▲ Light vs Medium

感謝各位讀者朋友在「監獄體衆籌問卷」提供意見,經過我們評估後,決定推出以下三個延伸目標,最終目標爲推出兩個字重(Light 及 Medium)以及總數 13,000 漢字,令監獄體應用更加完善。

Thanks to your feedback from the Prison Gothic Questionnaire, we have evaluated and decided to launch the following three Stretch Goals, with the ultimate goal of introducing two font weights (Light and Medium), with a total of 13,000 Chinese characters each to enrich your designs.

達標 150%——萬三 thanks
將監獄體 Medium 擴充至 13,000 漢字,涵蓋各方面應用漢字。預計於 2023 年 7 月推出。

達標 200%——瘦身版監獄體 Light
由於監獄體路牌爲全人手製作,字體時粗時幼;經過硏究及整合後,大致可以分成兩個字重——幼身 Light 以及較粗的 Medium。監獄體 Light 適用於內文使用,共 8,000 常用漢字。預計於 2023 年 12 月推出。

達標 250%——我全都要
贊助者將會得到監獄體 Light 及 Medium,每套字重各有 13,000 漢字。預計於 2024 年 4 月推出。


150% fulfilled – 13,000, thanks!
Expansion of Prison Gothic Medium to 13,000 characters, covering all applications of Chinese characters. Expected to be available in July 2023 if fulfilled.

200% fulfilled – Slim things down for me!
As road signages were fully handmade, the weight of the text may sometimes fluctuate. After our research and consolidation, we found out that they can be grouped into two character weights – Light and Medium. Expected to be available in December 2023 if fulfilled.

Reach 250% – Give me everything!
Sponsors will receive Prison Gothic Light and Medium with 13,000 Chinese Characters each. Expected to be available in April 2024 if fulfilled.

NB: Estimated release dates are subject to change.





延伸閱讀/Learn More


製作團隊/Creation Team

字體設計師/Type Designer
邱益彰 Gary Yau
吳灝民 Thomas Ng

李沛強 Ulysses Lee
羅柏軒 Pak Hin Law
林樂豪 Lok Ho Lam
阮智軒 Mike Yuen
李峻文 Tsun Man Lee

宣傳片製作/Promotion Video Production
南越谷直播 South Valley Broadcast Station

翻譯及校對/Translation & Proofreading
黃溢鋒 Benson Wong
邱益彰 Gary Yau


特別鳴謝/Special Thanks

黃 溢 鋒  Benson Wong
郭 斯 恆  Brian Kwok
易 搭 製 作  Easy Access Production
阮 慶 昌  Eddie Yuen
陳 毅 力  Eric Chan
李 貴 成  Eric Li
周 建 豪  Francis Chow
曾 國 榕  Gorong Tseng
吳 思 揚  Hugo Ng
內木 一郞  Ichirou Uchiki
李 維 明  Jacqueline Lee
許 瀚 文  Julius Hui
高 嘉 明  Ka Ming Ko
譚 智 恒  Keith Tam
李 健 明  Kin Ming Lee
陳 敬 倫  Kisslan Chan
奶茶通俗學  Milktealogy
羅 小 弟  Roman Wilhelm
陳 靖 軒  Roy Chan
李 樂 遙  Ryan Lee
柯 熾 堅  Sammy Or
李 承 駿  ​Seungjun Li
曹 子 揚  Schoen Cho
南越谷直播  South Valley Broadcast Station
荒守 敏行  Toshiyuki Aramori
富豪工作室  Volvo Workshop
翊   少  Xotarios