Featured image of By The Way: Physical Phenomena on 3D Printed Typeface

By The Way: Physical Phenomena on 3D Printed Typeface

Picture of Hanna Watkin
by Hanna Watkin
Apr 1, 2016

Looking for a typographic and material experiment that combines digital and analog media with physical phenomena? Say hello to ‘By The Way’.

Thomas Wirtz is a designer based in Düsseldorf, Germany. For his master’s thesis (which he completed in 2016), he created an interesting experiment with typographics and materials, a combination of digital and analog media that uses physical phenomena to impressive effect.

The title of the experiment is ‘By The Way’, where Wirtz used 3D printed forms to spell out abbreviated phrases commonly found on the magical interwebs. ‘BTW’ (by the way) is one example, together with other phrases like ‘FYI’ (for your information), and ‘DIY’ (do it yourself).

Wirtz used various media in a free design experiment, which has evolved over time into a modular system that consists of different components. The 3D printed base is the starting point, which is then transformed through several physical processes.

Confused? Don’t be. Check out this trippy video to see the results in motion:

By The Way, WTF? TBC LOL

The theme of the project is exploring time, motion, materials and production methods, so it deliberately uses traits from the digital environment and translates them to analogue media.

To do this, ‘By The way’ begins with a series of 3D printed characters. These are based on a custom uppercase typeface which is defined by interesting linear forms and geometric shapes.

After choosing and fabricating the phrases, they then undergo a series of laboratory style tests. With one, Wirtz set the letters on fire; elsewhere, liquid matter floods through the forms, or water gyrates to an electric current.

Each test was filmed, and slowed down and sped up to simulate the effect of time dilation and distortion. The resulting video feature captures “By The Way” in all its high-definition glory.

What do you think? Are you inspired to set fire to some 3D printed building blocks of your own making? Or dunk them in liquid nitrogen perhaps? Let us know in the comments.

(Source: Thomas Wirtz)

by the way 3d printing typeface


License: The text of "By The Way: Physical Phenomena on 3D Printed Typeface" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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