Make yourself into a humanised, 3D, floating letter with Dinamo and Tabitha Swanson's type face filter

Indulge in a dose of Windows XP desktop nostalgia with t¥p3w0rld, a new collaborative digital project that Dinamo says is “doing something completely different to what’s out there”.

18 February 2020

Over here at It’s Nice That, we’re always interested (and excited) to see what type design aficionados Dinamo have been up to. In a slightly unexpected move, the renowned type foundry has moved into the realm of face filter design, creating a number of highly amusing filters for the masses. Have a go and explore them in full glory over here. In its latest endeavour, Johannes and Fabian (Dinamo’s founders) along with the rest of their trusty team, have teamed up with the interdisciplinary designer and creative technologist Tabitha Swanson in a new filter bringing Dinamo’s typographic expertise to life.

Titled t¥p3w0rld, this new filter approaches the medium from a different perspective. Interactivity extends beyond the face, creating an entire world that’s interactive where you can move around as a humanised, 3D, floating letter courtesy of a previous collaboration with Manuel Roßner and his 3D type foundry, High Type. Set against the background of a Windows XP desktop (a nostalgic idea from which the filter stemmed from), users can explore the movement of letterforms through an interactive world. In t¥p3w0rld, users can also draw shapes in the sky by holding down a finger; an “absolute favourite” for Johannes and Fabian amongst the many discoveries in the creative process. They describe it as “some kind of Teletubby land, a happy and peaceful place.”

“Type, at least at the moment, feels like one of the right formats that we can exploit and apply our ideas onto,” explain Dinamo’s founders of this recent shift in disciplines. “Ideas that often originate from other areas of our life, in some cases, can be translated into products like toothbrushes or in this instance, face filters.” For Dinamo, venturing beyond the traditional mediums of type design presents exciting and unexpected outcomes, as well as new patterns of thought. By working with contemporary media, Dinamo are introducing new attitudes to their creative processes, which in turn, helps find new angles and ideas when it comes back to the type drawing table.

With Dinamo-facefilters, Johannes and Fabian aim to collaborate with 3D artists that are native to the digital field. A few months ago, when the platform was established, they sought out creatives excelling with their AR and VR skills, and invited them for coffee and cake in the studio. The collaboration has resulted in a fruitful partnership with the likes of Moritz Tontsch, John Sampson and the collective Zweihundertkilo, and now, Tabitha. Hailing from Canada, Tabitha has had a varied background to say the least; crafting a multi-disciplinary practice in creative strategy, fashion, art direction, UX and UI, and to top it all off, graphic design.

Currently taking part in an artist residency hosted by Factory Berlin and Sonar +D, Tabitha is one of 25 artists exploring the intersection of art and technology through an investigative practice. She first came across Dinamo when she first moved to Berlin, where she’s still currently based as a freelancer. After admiring the type foundry’s work from afar for a few years, she approached Johannes, Fabian and the rest of the Dinamo team, to work on a new kind of filter which moves beyond the interactivity of just the face, but instead, an entire digital world.

She talks us through the complex development of the filter, divulging that the most challenging aspect of the production lay in the limitations of SparkAR which was “a bit clunky to move around when you’re making such a large filter space and it doesn’t have the same capacities as other 3D design softwares.” In part however, she accounts these difficulties to the software being “very new still.” Tabitha continues, “Documentation is better now compared to how it was some months ago, but when trying to do something completely different to what’s out there, like t¥p3w0rld, there’s a lot of self-discovery and experimentation involved.”

Despite its challenges, the project presented all parties involved with a new adventure, a feeling they want to impart on its users, too. Inviting users to explore the filter in whatever way individuals see fit, Tabitha concludes: “Just have fun and make it your own.”

GalleryDinamo in collaboration with Tabitha Swanson: t¥p3w0rld

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Dinamo in collaboration with Tabitha Swanson: t¥p3w0rld

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About the Author

Jynann Ong

Jynann joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. She went freelance in 2022.

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