3D Typography

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By Jordan Kushins / Published by Dwell
Does the alphabet take on more meaning when it’s freed from the confines of cast-in-lead movable type, pen and paper, and the frame of a computer screen? Capturing words and letters in media that range from human skin to mini-sandwiches, 3D Typography is a celebration of the words that emerge in unexpected locales and language that has an intrinsic bond to its varied means of conveyance.
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Jeanette Abbink and Emily CM Anderson—former Dwell creative director and senior designer, respectively—curated the tangible typefaces in this collection from projects around the world: Trash gathered by students is assembled to form the word "used"; a pianist’s solo is promoted with piano-wire script; cheese falls from a grater in the shape of the letters "M-I-C-E."

The evocative forms that adorn the pages are messy, playful, complex, imperfect, and, at times, nearly illegible. Though Helvetica’s perfectly balanced composition conveys a clear message, it is precisely this collection’s disconnect between easy reading and meaning that makes discovering and deciphering it such fun.  We just wish the book were accompanied by a traveling exhibition, allowing the words to be experienced in more than two dimensions.

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