Scanning Around With Gene: Really, Really Deep Type

I’ve been collecting a few examples of super-three-dimensional type, which I truly love. I can picture a designer drawing these examples using a T-square, triangle, and ruled graph paper (and in a few cases an airbrush). They are the sorts of logos you might draw in an advanced drafting class to show off your mastering of perspective.

All of these examples are from between 1943 and 1953. Click on any image to see a larger version.

Of course some three-dimensional type was done just for the sake of it, such as these for Cordley Water Coolers, 61 Floor Varnish and Trico Windshield Washers.

But my favorites are the ones that attempt to highlight the actual product, like these from Kreolite Floors, Met-L-Top Ironing Tables and Bild-A-Set Fighting Units.

And even though television is very one-dimensional, early promotions highlighted the illusion of depth.

Depth and perspective go in many directions and I love the combinations of at least two planes, such as these for Canadian Pacific Railroad and Wiss Shears.

It seems these days everything has a subtle drop shadow. But I’m hoping Adobe’s addition of true 3-D tools to CS4 causes a revival of logos and type like these. Now that’s deep, man.

Posted on: September 25, 2009

Gene Gable

Gene Gable has spent a lifetime in publishing, editing and the graphic arts and is currently a technology consultant and writer. He has spoken at events around the world and has written extensively on graphic design, intellectual-property rights, and publishing production in books and for magazines such as Print, U&lc, ID, Macworld, Graphic Exchange, AGI, and The Seybold Report. Gene's interest in graphic design history and letterpress printing resulted in his popular columns "Heavy Metal Madness" and "Scanning Around with Gene" here on

2 Comments on Scanning Around With Gene: Really, Really Deep Type

  1. i still create that 3D type for appropriate projects. I usually, well almost always, in Illustrator. I do not generally use the 3D tool in Illustrator, but draw vectors by hand.

  2. The world famous Superman logo.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.