Colorful letters!
9 November, 2017

We have a fridge full of alphabet magnets… They had gotten quite dusty so here they are getting a bath. The layers of letters in a bucket of water were bright and fun.

Colorful letters! I always enjoy a nice R.

I always enjoy a nice R. View in Instagram

Colorful letters! W & M or M &…

W & M or M & M or W & W, not sure. View in Instagram

Colorful letters, rounded edition.

Weird K! View in Instagram

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A school in Ratnagari
25 August, 2017

This is from the side of a school…

This is from the side of a school in Ratnagari. So much style is happening here!
#devanagari #3DLetters #handpaintedsigns #india

Photo taken at: Ratnagiri

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Taco stall sign in progress…
7 February, 2015

Taco stall sign in progress...

Taco stall sign in progress…

View in Instagram

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Really awesome present from my awesome sister!
29 December, 2014

Really awesome present from my awesome sister!

She got this sweet 3D ‘&’ from a casino outside Reno and brought it all the way to India.

View in Instagram

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Greetings from Mumbai!
3 October, 2014

Greetings from Mumbai!

Shivaji Park

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Kartique Letter Gallery
12 July, 2014

Opened March 2014, Berlin has a new shop devoted to letters. The Kartique Buchstabenshop in Kreuzberg sells all sorts of letters large and small. Some are rescued letters from old signs, some are new and they are made from everything from paper to metal to erasers. You can pick stuff up from €1 to quite expensive.

Verdict: visit if you are nearby!

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Left Out Letters
1 March, 2009

In a gesture of giving, these ceramic letters were left out free for anyone to discover and take home. Some were left in specific places for specific people, others were left randomly in public spaces. All were from the Fall of 2005 and Spring of 2006.

Hoefler and Frere Jones have a funny account of the anonymous package from the last two images.

These left out letters led to the PDA (Public Displays of Art series)(coming soon)

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Dimension and Typography – the show
28 January, 2009

dimension and typography


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Letters in the 3rd Dimension
19 January, 2009

Letters in the 3rd dimension

The other day I came across a recent statement by Jimmy Luu, faculty in graphic design at the University of Illinois. In this interview he declared: “Up until the past decade, letters have mainly been presented as flat shapes in printed form.” He continues: “While the notion of giving dimension to letterforms has existed for centuries within the field of typography as smaller pockets of activity, recent advances in digital technology has provided designers greater freedom and ease with which to explore the spatial and temporal qualities of typographic form.” This inspired me to dig through my photo collection to find a few specimens to illustrate some amazing dimensional typography. There is quite a long history and variety of three dimensional letterforms, yet it is rarely recognized.
Clearly, the majority of type and typography we encounter on a daily basis is literally and visually flat and dimensionless. However, contrary to what Luu claims, I would argue dimensional type is no more popular now than in any other point in history. That being said, there is somewhat of a trend for artists to use words and letters in their works, but that is a different topic.
Luu’s singular accurate statement in that quote is that computers make it easier for designers to play with letters in time and space. That is a shallow and throw away comment – computers have completely changed every aspect of how designers work. Simply because digital technology makes work easier and faster says nothing of the quality or quantity of new dimensional type that has come as a result.
The images in this collection are by no means intended to be a complete history, they only acknowledge a fraction of the many fascinating forms that type has taken in the 3rd dimension. There are countless other ways letters have been played with. These include but are not limited to: other flat-faux-dimensional-treatments, more physical 3D embodiments, graffiti, and especially the whole separate genre of motion graphics. Moving type is possibly the only “new” use of dimensional type in the last century.

Descriptions and links:

1st Row:
1) The most common dimensional type we experience daily – shop signs
2) Retired sign letters in a new context
3) Roman inscription, carved letters are some of the oldest existing type specimens
2nd Row:
4) Old and new 3D type – the inscribed and the extruded side by side
5) Modern use of inscribing letters is still commonly found in cemeteries
6) Not all tombstones have carved letters, these beautiful letters are in metal and “float” above the face of the stone
3rd Row:
7) 19th C. type exhibiting primitive attempts at added dimension
8) The use of different type styles helps differentiate stories
9) More ornate and decorative treatments are used to achieve depth
4th Row:
10) Unconventional use of contrasting colors also hint at dimension
11) 19th C. Almanac with letters seemingly standing upright and perpendicular to the page
12) Curved letters peeling away from the paper, others with an odd perspective standing on the page
5th Row:
13) Radical examples of faux type from France
14) Edward Ruscha paintings 1968 (both)
images from the National Gallery of Art
15) Edward Ruscha drawings, gunpowder on paper, 1970 (left) 1967 (right)
images from: Craig F. Starr Gallery
6th Row:
16) Album cover inspired by Ruscha’s work? Mecca for Moderns by The Manhattan Transfer 1986
17) You think Ed Ruscha invented dimensional lettering from ribbons? Here is a beautiful medieval example:
18) Before computers, Ed Benguiat pencil sketches for Budweiser logo. Images from presentation at Typo Berlin 2008, dates unknown ≈1970’s – early 80’s.
7th Row:
19) Ed Benguiat logo for colossus
20) Ed Benguiat logo for Terra Magna

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Ceramic Block Letters
8 September, 2008

These ceramic pieces are generally straight forward letters. The project began with two-dimensional letters produced on a computer and transformed them into three-dimensional versions made with earth formed with one’s hands. Experimentation and high-art conceptual status take a backseat to accurately translating the beautiful curves and angles of these landmark designs.

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