We've got a hot one for all you typography freaks out there: The Dutch rapid-prototyping juggernaut Freedom of Creation has released an arty new font designed explicitly to be printed in 3-D. The result is a snaking, spiraling, sinewy typographic sculpture that's totally customizable and would look right at home on the mantle.
Freedom of Creation bills it as the "world's first 3D font." Here's how to make your own sculpture: Type whatever text you want into this super-simple online interface (shown below). There, you can also specify things like color (gray or white) and size (small, medium, or large). Within weeks, you get a 3-D version in the mail printed in nylon out of Freedom of Creation's Selective Laser Sintering machines.
The font has a lovely loopiness about it — like some sort of combination of Arabic and English cursive — which was by design. Called Kasheeda, it was developed in tandem with Yara Khoury and Melle Hammer of the Amsterdam-based Khatt foundation Center for Arabic Typography. They envisioned the font as a sort of cultural bridge between the Middle East and the West. Per Freedom of Creation's Web site:
The sloping Arabic letterforms become straight and strict [like Latin letterforms] and vice versa, generating a fusion of the two cultural backgrounds. This is enhanced by the fact that in 3D typewriting the result is non directional: neither from left, like Latin writing, neither from right, like Arab writing. It is just about space ? and the two writings can meet in the middle.
We'll take that over a multicultural fair any day. One drawback: Only the small-sized text comes as a single, complete piece; the larger versions require assembly. (Freedom of Creation's Brian Garret Schuur tells us that's because of ?production limitations.?) As for pricing: The smallest print is a foot and a half long and costs about $160; the 2.25-foot medium print checks in at $320; and the biggest one, at just over 3 feet, costs a whopping $635.
Can you print "expensive?"
[Images courtesy of Freedom of Creation]