3D Plastic Type From viaLetter

Written by Typographica on November 19, 2005

VialetterType on paper is great, but sometimes you want to feel it, hold it, fling it at your foes. viaLetter of London sells 4-inch tall plastic models of Monotype Bodoni, Rockwell Condensed, and Letraset’s Frankfurter. The letters are £1.80 a piece and are suitable for gifts, home decor, or welcome signage. Not a bad price for a novelty item, and the tasteful site leaves little doubt as to the quality of the pieces. The proprietors seem like typography buffs, not mere opportunists. Sure, plastic sign letters have been around forever, but type is hot among non-designers these days and I gotta hand it to them for taking advantage of the trend.

See also: Neutraface: Type You Can Touch

19 Comments

  1. Right after I posted this, someone asked what type you would fling at your foes. F bombs of course.

  2. Bobby Henderson says:

    There’s a good number of companies that sell dimensional type made from a variety of materials. Gemini and MetalArts are two companies whose custom work (based from your supplied art files) has been impressive.

  3. Magnus Rakeng says:

    sometimes i make 3D models of my own type. it’s almost magic when type becomes physical objects. it’s a lot of fun doing it and i think it helps me to better understand the typeface.

  4. Gorgeous. Antiqued copper Radio letters would sell like hotcakes.

  5. Magnus Rakeng says:

    might be a business idea. although my letters are made out of cardboard, tape and acrylic paint.

  6. Glad you guys like the viaLetter concept. True I am a designer with a love of type and it was my idea to push this forward. One of my main aims is to bring type to the people that would not necessarily know anything about it, hence the low cost of them. When we send out orders we always include a history of the typeface and some further information about the typographers. If anyone has any recommendations on typefaces please do let us know. We are just about to place Helvetica Neue and are planning on increasing the ranges so watch this space. Thanks for the fab feeback guys.

    BTW: I have started a ‘Word of the Week’ on Ebay

  7. Chris Rugen says:

    That sounds great, Javier. I’ll keep viaLetter in mind. There has got to be a reason for me to buy some of those…

  8. james eden says:

    I’ve always wanted to see Akzidenz Grotesk set like sculpture in horrible 1960’s towerblock concrete, and discoloured by the rain. Especially the numerals; maybe 1 and 7.

  9. Christina says:

    As a collector of all things type (much to the chagrin of my husband — “Do you really need another giant E?”) I have a feeling viaLetter is about to make me very broke.

  10. Meow! This makes me want to get some of my own fonts cut in 2 inch clear acrylic :^)

    I once worked at a place that cut signs in acrylic and all kinds of other plastics, and some metal and wood. I got to program the CNC laser cutting machine-tool and supervise the jobs. We also cut parts for internally lit supermarket display signage, and display panels for OTIS elevators. Making that stuff was fun.

    Mr. Garcia, Futura capitals would be great addition to Neutraface for architectural use.

    > it’s a lot of fun doing it and i think
    > it helps me to better understand the typeface.

    You are definitely onto a good thing there. I’m a huge fan of architecture and monumental sculpture, and I’ve done a bit of industrial design in the round (audiophile equipment), and when designing letters I always think of them as solid objects.

  11. Funny you should mention it James FUTURA is on the list and will be coming prob in the new year :)

    Both your comments:
    > it’s a lot of fun doing it and i think
    > it helps me to better understand the typeface.
    …are some of the reasons why I started viaLetter in the first place. Also growing up in a small place (Gibraltar) I never had the access to the info I wanted (pre-internet). Hopefully some kids will learn and get into type through viaLetter. That would be the icing on the cake for me.

    Thanks for your nice comments :)

  12. More Suggested Fonts

    Benguiat’s Bauhaus
    Gill ultra bold cut from 2 or 3 inch thick bright red acrylic

    Mecanorma Galba (or bold version of Adobe Trajan)

    Modula
    Triplex
    Cholla Sans
    Mason Super
    Exocet
    Filosophia Unicase
    Blockhead Illustrations Unplugged
    Matrix Inline Script cut in 2 layers — black letter bodies and white highlights

    Vendetta
    Iowan Old Style

    Fette Thannhaeuser

    P22 Il Futurismo
    P22 Constructivist
    P22 Johnston Underground

    Zapf Elliptical

    Very best of luck to your endeavor Javier.

  13. WOW some lovely faces I think in here…..keep an eye out for our site. Early in the new year we will be adding full ecommerce and a flash ‘see before you buy’ function.

    You may even find one of your suggestion in our new ranges :)

  14. anthropocentric says:

    Javier,

    I do not understand the process of creating the 3d plastic type – so this may be naive – but why dont you:
    Put together a web page that allows people to “pre-order” certain characters of a certain font. List all of the “pending” orders on the page so that people know that 32 other orders have been placed for “Radio” font characters. Once you hit some certain threshold (determined by your manufacturing capabilities, economies of scale, ROI, etc.) you would actually produce the font, charge the customers, and ship the results. If you have the manufacturing capacity, perhaps you should talk to CafePress or similar co’s – with real “distribution” this could be a real business.

  15. anthropocentric says:

    Javier,

    I do not understand the process of creating the 3d plastic type – so this may be naive – but why dont you:
    Put together a web page that allows people to “pre-order” certain characters of a certain font. List all of the “pending” orders on the page so that people know that 32 other orders have been placed for “Radio” font characters. Once you hit some certain threshold (determined by your manufacturing capabilities, economies of scale, ROI, etc.) you would actually produce the font, charge the customers, and ship the results. If you have the manufacturing capacity, perhaps you should talk to CafePress or similar co’s – with real “distribution” this could be a real business.

  16. anthropocentric says:

    Javier,

    I do not understand the process of creating the 3d plastic type – so this may be naive – but why dont you:
    Put together a web page that allows people to “pre-order” certain characters of a certain font. List all of the “pending” orders on the page so that people know that 32 other orders have been placed for “Radio” font characters. Once you hit some certain threshold (determined by your manufacturing capabilities, economies of scale, ROI, etc.) you would actually produce the font, charge the customers, and ship the results. If you have the manufacturing capacity, perhaps you should talk to CafePress or similar co’s – with real “distribution” this could be a real business.

  17. Hi anthropocentric,
    thanks for these ideas brilliant input I implement some of them at some point in the year. One of my main aims with viaLetter is to open type and typography to the general public (hence we mail out a brief history of the designers and typeface selected). The ‘pre’ ordering of idea is great for the design world but not so hot for ‘middle’ england. I could have a list of typefaces though that users can vote on, I would then produce the most popular typefaces and everyones happy :)

    I was not aware of CafePress this I will def. look into very quickly. Its a great idea I’m really greatful for your tip on this one.

    I wish you and all of Typographica the very best for 2006

    Kind regards
    Javier Garcia
    viaLetter

  18. How cute these 3D plastic letters are. You should use a laser cutting machine-tool to make your own letters. I think to make this stuff is fun. :)

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