April 26, 2010
Last Friday, we featured a number of typographically-hacked Rubik’s Cubes. Today we have seven novelty fonts designed to look like Rubik’s cubes. As such, they also speak to issues of screen resolution and the recent history of computer font design. (See Emigre’s “Empire” etc.)
The classic, 3×3 screen size make for a very low-res font indeed if 9 pixels is all one has to work with. Most of these fonts cleverly get around that by using a 3D view so that each letter-form wraps around more than one side of the cube, thereby doubling or tripling their effective resolution.
The two photo-fonts included (#5 and #7) get around the resolution limitation in other ways. One simply used groups of four 3×3 cubes for each letter. The other just opted for the higher-resolution 5×5 cube. (Just as as screen resolutions have increased—so, too, have the resolutions of Rubik’s Cubes increased: from 3 to 4 to 5, etc.)
1. Kubics Rube (difficult to date, since the designer is anonymous or unknown, but judging by an accompanying text file, this font dates back at least to 2003—maybe earlier)—[an update: digging further, I learn that Kubrics Rube should be credited to the “Font Nook”—the name of an apparently defunct GeoCities site, belonging to one “weakestlink101.”]
“Patterned after the popular cubic shaped puzzle.”
2. Rubix by Carlos Vigil (2008)
“This 3-D modular font was inspired by the classic Rubik’s cube. In designing the type I wanted the letters not only to reflect the form of the toy, but to also extend beyond the puzzle to capture the aesthetic of 1980’s pop-culture.”
(5 more Rubik’s Cube fonts, after the twist…)
3. The Rubik Font, designed by Philip Lischer and Cornel Windlin. (1998)
“A set of 16 fonts based on the matrix of the Rubik Cube were designed by Philip Lischer, a Zurich-based architect, in collaboration with Cornel Windlin. They are currently only available on request.”
Acknowledging the limited usefulness of such novelty fonts, Tony Esposito from Lineto mentions the continued availability of their intriguing online Rubic-Cube graphic tool:
“Today, we find the experiments with the logic of the Rubik cube of limited appeal in terms of a font; however, as a generative tool, the RubikMaker is an interesting little toy. See & try the online version: here.”
4. Rubic by David Buck (2001)
“The idea came from taking my O picture of the cube in the corners and then realizing that it would be fun to change directions. I had originally taken pictures of 6 or 7 letters that weren’t cube related.”
6. Kubrick Kube (2010), a font project by Jose Lord was based not on the standard 3×3 Rubik’s Cube, but on the asymmetrical mirrored version—(see video below)—and also references Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Note how the opening of the package below is, itself, part of the puzzle, although that part of the puzzle here is solved with more grace than shown by, say, Larry David under similar pressure.
7. “Rubik’s Cube Alphabet” by Andy Owen (2007)
“My 4×4 Rubik’s cube died the other week, so in my sadness I decided to make a new typeface by using my 5×5 cube. I put some paper on my desk to give a mostly white background, and then spelt out every upper case letter on the 5×5 cube.”
Beach Packaging Design