“The Magic of 3-D Lettering in a Typeface”
Layers and Layers of Shading
When Jamie Clarke was looking at the font marketplace, he couldn't find any shaded, geometric typefaces that he felt were good. So he made one—and not just any font, but Rig Shaded, a “3-D Lettering Typeface” with four weights and two shading styles.
Clarke has some experience with three-dimensional fonts after creating the antique wood & chromatic type Brim Narrow, in 2015. “Brim was steeped in the 1800s and I wanted Rig to be as modern as possible. It takes shading that has been around for 100s of years and makes something very modern. The main framework of Rig is a geometric all-caps sans with lots of options after the fact.”
The Look of Custom Lettering
Clarke wanted a typeface that could be used by graphic designers that had the look of custom lettering. “The core reason to make Rig was because I love the 3-D lettering work by people like Gary Stranger and Bobby Evans and wanted to catch the magic of that lettering in a typeface.”
From the beginning, Clarke wanted to make sure that he made a useful typeface rather than just a pretty one. “I really wanted to make Rig Shaded for graphic designers and put them in the driver’s seat to have options when designing.”
The Process of Making Rig Shaded
“I massively underestimated the amount of time it would take to make the typeface” Clarke laughs. He had to do extensive experiments with different ways of extruding and shading character shapes to get the right balance of stroke and shade. In all, there were nearly 2,000 characters to shade by hand due to the four weights and two different shading styles.
He also realized early on that using circular dot patterns for that halftone shading would make the file sizes far too big. Not only would the file sizes be too large to download, computer software wouldn’t be able to render the font smoothly as you typed. So he created square halftone shading which produces far less data points. This focus on efficiency shows Clarke’s attention to detail.