3D Ribbon Script Lettering

NYU Gallatin Alumni Day Postcard 2009 - Front


I’m always looking for innovative ways to set text, and in the process of creating this postcard, I thought I’d give 3D lettering a try. I wanted to use a three-dimensional “ribbon” to mimic the movement of the pen or brush in the process of cursive writing. I also wanted to reinforce the feeling of papercraft in this piece, inspired by sophisticated pop-up books, especially given the recurring theme of Gallatin’s Alumni Day activities, “Return to the Great Books.”

3D ribbon lettering, close-up

While the process was somewhat laborious, it was interesting to play with 3D tools to create lettering in a somewhat unconventional way. It allowed me to direct the stroke through loops, and to tie knots inside of letters. There’s something rather Tron-like about it. Perhaps I’ll try “light cycle” lettering next time, or experiment with the smoke trails left by skywriting airplanes.

3D ribbon lettering, before red color was added

3D ribbon lettering, before red color was added

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3 Responses to “3D Ribbon Script Lettering”

  1. joseph May 3, 2010 at 6:40 am #

    Looks great. It’s nice that you didn’t get carried away with the effects as I’m sure it was tempting. Curious as to what program you used: is it a rendering program or Illustrator/Photoshop?

  2. Josh Korwin May 3, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    Thanks, Joseph! Actually, all of the above were used. I created the original layout/composition in Illustrator (where I usually start), and the 3D book, “Come Back,” and “ribbon script” were done in 3ds max. The rendered components were assembled in Photoshop, where I was able to better control shadows and contrast to make the whole thing more legible.


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