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Alternative Digital Methods: Rhino and Grasshopper 3D for Dimensional Typography

Different industries, such as product design, architecture, and landscape architecture, have refined design tools and processes to create physical experiences in the digital realm. Those design tools and methods could be used in typography. This workshop will address how dimensional typography could utilize the computer-aided design (CAD) software Rhino and Grasshopper 3D, the visual programming language run within Rhino. For a few reasons, Rhino and Grasshopper 3D are good entry points to expand the design process from the screen to physical space. Firstly, typography is a good class for learning CAD. As designers develop keen eyes for shapes and a sense of position in two-dimensional space, they may expand their expertise toward three-dimensional space. Secondly, the software is relatively easy to learn compared to other CAD software but is powerful enough to work with various design tasks. It also works well with Adobe software. Additionally, it comes with Grasshopper, which has become a robust computational design platform. Compared with learning how to script, visual programming allows designers to create without prior programming experience. The letterforms designed using CAD could be 3D-printed, and they will provide interactivity with physical substances. Learning CAD could be a stepping stone to relating to what one is designing on-screen and how a design will live with users in the physical space. On top of CAD, this workshop will share various resources for 3D printing.

Historically, many tools and methods have been adapted in typography, including digital software and physical tools. The digital revolution, with the introduction of personal computers, has invited designers to the digital realm. Although interesting tools and processes have developed for designers, some graphic design professions are actively looking for alternative methods. This workshop will introduce alternate design tools used in different industries and help designers acquire new design methods and tools.


Taekyeom Lee

Assistant Professor Iowa State University

Taekyeom Lee is an educator, researcher, and designer using the artist’s materials and artistic sensibility. He is currently an assistant professor of graphic design at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. His research explores unconventional methods for creating tangible type, graphics, and even designed objects with materials and techniques unique to typography and graphic design. He has infused 3D printing into his research and experimented with various digital methods and materials in 3D printing.