July 22nd, 2015 by Amanda Paull
Question: What happens when you mix a smarter-than-your-professor engineering brain with a creative’s awareness of typographical design and then toss it in the oven for fifteen minutes at 325 degrees?
Answer: Dutch food-and-type designer, Printmeneer.
Printmeneer is a business sprouting from one man’s homemade 3D printer and an inkling that cleverly designed cookie cutters would be a hit with both lovers of design and lovers of glutinous treats. Built with a naval architect’s know-how and a baker’s precision, these cookie cutters come in a myriad of funky shapes and sizes, but we, font geeks that we are, were stopped in our tracks when we saw his Garamond, Baskerville, Futura and Helvetica cookie cutter series.
The concept of food-and-type is one that has come across our plate before (pun intended) in the name of our 2014 Tasty Type blog series. Truth is, we can’t get over this phenomenon of crazy combinations of creativity, technology and food allowing us to reimagine typefaces outside of their natural habitats.
We already sparked a discussion about our favorite food and type design experiments on Twitter featuring some of our favorites (think @marmaladebleue, @stevenbonner, among many others), join in; add your two cents with #tastytype. While you’re poking around the internet, don’t neglect to stop by our Pinterest “Fontspiration” board to see some of our favorite food and type experiments like this favorite found on typostrate.com.
First, to satiate our typographical sweet tooth, we caught up with Wouter Nicolai, the man behind Printmeneer’s 3D cookie cutter printing machine and asked him a few (mostly) type-centric questions.
An Interview with Printmeneer:
Was Helvetica your first typographic cookie cutter design? Why did you choose this one?
Yes, this was my first typeface-based cookie cutter. The design was added to my collection about a year or so after I started creating cookie cutters at a customer’s request. I realized it was a really good idea and wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before.
What makes a typeface easier or more difficult to turn into a cookie cutter?
A serif type typeface is more difficult to use as a cookie cutter due to the small letter parts, especially when the letter size is quite small. It is easy to get lost in a lot of tiny details, which make a cookie cutter quite difficult to use.
Why do you think people adore the combination of food and typography so much?
In the past, cookie cutters were quite boring. You could easily find a star, a heart and a circular one. If you were lucky, you could find something else, but generally that was about it. Using 3D printers makes it possible to create one-off designs like a company logo or low volume designs. For the last couple of years, complete alphabet cookie cutter sets were available, but the typefaces were not as modern as Helvetica.
Tell us more about your newest creations.
Last weekend the Tour de France raced through our hometown (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and a lot of cycling related activities were organized. As I’m an active cyclist myself, I’ve designed a cycling related cookie cutter and sold them at a local market. Besides the new cookie cutter design, I’ve created multi-colored valve caps and developed a canister for carrying energy balls in a back pocket of a cycling jersey.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
Creating cookie cutters that brighten up someone day! (And have a nice bike ride afterwards).