The type fans among us may have been wondering what the next big thing in typography is, and maybe this is it? In the last few decades, the industry has moved from strength to strength with the likes of variable fonts and reversed contrast typefaces informing the latest contemporary designs, but now, are we entering the era of three-dimensional type?
Hightype is a type foundry strictly for three-dimensions, founded by Manuel Rossner in Berlin and launched just last week, at the end of June. At the moment, its two main purposes consist of lowpoly-models for games and websites as well as smoother versions for print and video. Manuel tells It’s Nice That: “Its possible applications are promising, ranging from VR typography games to augmented reality to interactive websites and high-resolution brand imagery.”
The idea for Hightype came about when Manuel was working on two separate graphic design projects which both revolved around three-dimensional type and its deconstruction. “When I was modelling the necessary characters for the second time, I was looking for existing fonts but couldn’t find any, so I started wondering whether I could create them,” says Manuel. He shared the idea with friend and fellow designer Johannes Breyer (co-founder of Dinamo) who reciprocated his enthusiasm, and even offered to use a specifically modified version of Monument Grotesk for the type foundry’s first release. “And that’s when I knew I had to pursue the idea” adds Manuel.
“Typography occupies such a wonderful spot between the abstract, the concrete and even the haptic,” explains the founding designer. Combining an interest in graphic design and spatial practices, one of Manuel’s fundamental aims for the project lies in “inviting designers to profit from the rich world of three-dimensional tools,” not to mention seeing and appreciating what said designers come up with as a result. “I also want to create a platform for knowledge and inspiration in the field,” Manuel adds on the matter.
For any designer working with two-dimensional type, an added third dimension offers an entirely new perspective on the letterforms and the way they are typeset. Not to mention the fact that whole new virtual worlds and aesthetic playgrounds also open up across digital three-dimensional planes. “Technology is moving so fast towards spatial experiences, there’s a lot of unexplored territories and three-dimensional type has its place there,” adds Manuel on the future of type design and the inevitable move towards new realities.
For the next stage of Hightype’s development, Manuel hopes to release a 3D-printed version of the new type foundry’s products. But with the first release, the type designer stayed very close to the two-dimensional form of Monument Grotesk. “I named it HT Standard because it can be modified in an unimaginable amount of ways,” he explains. Manuel demonstrates precisely this with a variety of videos seen throughout this article, proving that the new possibilities within three-dimensional type design are seemingly infinite – we can’t wait to see what else is to come.
About the Author
Jyni 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.