In a previous lettering post, I mused on the idea of taking sharp, industrial forms and giving them a Gothic influence. That’s how this succeeding project began, but, as you can probably tell, I ended up in quite a different place. Maybe I’ll revisit that someday.

This time, I ended up with circuit boards after discovering a ready-made model of one in C4D. They are fascinating to look at, with their intricate tracks within a city of components – even now, there’s a futuristic feel about them. Perhaps a touch of retro-futuristic too, as I remember marvelling at the board from our original ZX Spectrum as it sat broken in a container for years.

I ripped the bump map texture from the 3D model and started cutting it up into letters; not much to see there originally, so I started cutting my own letters. using the board as a guide. That’s how the header came about. The Photoshop threshold effect gave it a nice printed edge, which I thought an interesting juxtaposition. Furthermore, it pushed me back into my favoured position of monochrome goodness:

Though, I did pull myself away momentarily to try and give the impression of a letter-shaped tracking.

Eventually though I returned to the threshold effect, but using green! I worried that black and white tracks to this extent might become migraine fuel for you (and me). The letters are also inverted to help with contrast.

I suppose the next step (or likely the first step for any logical human being) would be to actually create a circuit board layout with the corresponding letter imprinted on it, rather than overlapping textures in the shape of the letter. It’s worth a shot. It’s always worth a shot. But I do think what we have here is a nice novelty. With my time so much less than before, I’m quite happy for anything to jump out in an evening, like this has.

As for why I chose the name Computer over Circuit, Circuitry or something more relevant – eh. At least I got a few more unique letters out of my choice.

  1. TVTA said:

    Just fantastic. They make me think of intricate fingerprints of robots perhaps. And like looking down from the sky at futuristic cities.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Thanks! I love the robot fingerprint interpretation, I can totally see it now. Whenever I saw these boards as a kid I liked to imagine they were futuristic cities. They’ll always have that cool vibe to me!

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Very familiar with the Speccy board, as you know I’m a big time fan of that rainbow warrior but I might not have mentioned that I started my working career as a workshop engineer. Repairing computers such as IBM PCs (and clones) along with ZX Spectrums and suchlike.

    At college we had to make our own circuit boards, sticking down transfers and some kind of chemical dip process that would inevitably splash and turn your jeans orange. All good fun.

    That whole world is long gone as they have multi-layer boards and surface mounted components rather than leg mounted.

    The font reminds me of MICR. Another dead(ish) technology where characters were written with Magnetic Ink (MI) and then could be read by computers later on with Character Recognition (CR).

    The advantage was that numbers written that way, on a cheque for instance, could be easily read by human or machine. If the terminator T-800 had been suitably equipped then we’d be in real trouble now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jacob said:

      Well, nice to learn a bit more about you sir. I did not know about your time as a workshop engineer. That’s the sort of technical, problem solving wizardry that continues to go right over my head. My brother is good at that sort of thing too, though he’s never worked in the field.

      Ah yes, the numbers at the bottom of a cheque, I see it now. I remember those from the old Millionaire days 😉 The OCR-A font is the same sort of deal, I guess.

      Thanks for the insight!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yep that’s right, same deal with the fonts. Btw, I’m not ancient but a lot of companies would keep hold of their “old tat’ computers, especially banks which can be paranoid about new fangled tech.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jacob said:

        Funnily enough, I did work experience at a bank in 2007 and was taken on a tour. There was a room upstairs full of old computers. Early 90s models I’d say (and there were calendars in there from 1992). I remember fairly recently reading that some banks still use Windows XP too.


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