The Essential Tools Behind Txaber’s Latest Experimental 3D Type

Constructing different experimental alphabets through his multiple 3D type series, Txaber (@txaber_) is a uniquely intriguing designer in more than one way. Born in Bilbao, Spain, Txaber (Xabier Mentxaka) has been working as a graphic designer since his graduation in 1992, and has since built what he describes as an ‘intense professional life’, spending time between various agencies and working on packaging, branding, editorial and more.

'Rotation' 3D Type - Ampersand

‘Experimentation is my passion and a constant in my evolution as a designer, especially in the typographic field’, Txaber tells us. The designer’s recent 3D type experiments, which almost resemble modern art sculptures, chime directly with his words. From the brassy Folding Type to the dynamic Rotation Type series, Txaber seems overwhelmingly aware of the lyrical interplay between letterforms and how to bring these relationships alive. ‘I get carried away by a spiral of tests that sometimes leads you to something interesting, and other times not, but I love the path I take’, he expands. 

Fascinated by the ‘double meaning’ of letterforms (‘grammatical and formal’, he clarifies), Txaber tells us he loves to get sucked in to the ‘spiral of tests’ in creating experimental 3D type work, and that what spurs him on is being instinctually drawn to the omnipresent possibility of surprises and unexpected results. ‘The most unexpected thing can give me an idea to create something, you never know where you can find a key. You always have to be alert and I try to see a lot. Nature, art, fashion, architecture, technology…creating a very broad visual background for me is fundamental’, he continues.

'Boulders' 3D Type
'Fold' 3D Type

Txaber’s distinctive skill for merging digitally created, totally convincing textures with type gives his 3D type work a unique edge. ‘The material is an essential element for transmitting sensations and, as with the shape, I like to experiment with different finishes to appreciate the result’, he tells us. ‘Sometimes I see the finish very clearly, and other times I try and try until I am satisfied with the result…Typography’s grammatical meaning together with the form seems a very powerful mixture in communication to me.’

'Rotation' 3D Type
'Stone' 3D Type

Mainly using Maxon Cinema 4D for 3D realisation and rendering, Txaber adds that Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are also essential; along with After Effects being his go-to when creating or editing moving images. ‘I have learned to use Cinema 4D in a self-taught way’ he tells us, explaining that between his passion for his work and internet tutorials, he’s been led ‘little by little’ to understand its possibilities and how to explore them. ‘Every day I try to learn so that I can shape the things I think about’, he adds.

'Symmetries' 3D Type

One day, Txaber tells his he hopes to bring his digital works to life and create them in physical spaces. ‘It’s a bit complex because of production, but for that I think the advance in 3D printing is a very interesting field and it’s something I’d like to try’, he elaborates. ‘In any case’, he reminds us, ‘I think that the best tool is oneself; one’s ideas.’

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