'Ugly Mustard' by Tracy Ng

Class Blog No.11 – ‘Ugly’ Type Production

I have recently received feedback on a number of  school and personal works, and one of the overriding theme of those discussions were that I needed to demonstrate my utilising of type more. I know I have covered type a few times in this ‘Class Blog’ series, but it is one of those ‘things’ that not only my lecturers drill us about but also designers that I follow on ‘Instagram’ always mentions whenever they host online ‘design’ classes.

I decided to explore and practice the production of type digitally in my spare time now. This particular work below took me in excess of 15 hours to produce with Adobe Illustrator and Cinema 4D. I had to firstly create a spline to take the shape and form of a word/ typeface before importing the spline into the 3d software to treat it for dimension and texture.

Step One. – Create Spline

As a practice I decided to base my spline on an existing typeface, ‘Mistral’:


I don’t particularly think ‘Mistral’ is an ugly typeface however it is definitely hard to read and not necessarily the most friendliest to work with in a type layout. I thought it would be good to practice on a narrow and scribbly font.ugly3-[Converted]I created my type’s spline in Adobe Illustrator mainly because it was a lot easier to control the bezier and curves than in C4D.

Step Two. – Adjust Spline 

After formatting my saved Illustrator file ‘Ugly’, I imported it into C4D. In Illustrator I only had to worry about the X axis (left to right) and Y axis (top to bottom) however in C4D an additional Z axis (front to back) is included. This meant that I had to factor in how far forward or back a bezier point should be in order to create space and dimension within my text.

One thing I learnt about hand or digitally rendering type is that if the base skeleton/ spline of the type is not exact, than any further treatment you do to it won’t make it better. This part took me the longest time to finalise.

Step Three. – Texture and Lighting

A big component of producing CGI works is texture and lighting. Below were a number of colours, tones and textures I created and experimented with on my ‘Ugly’ type:


It wasn’t until I tested the yellow matte texture that it reminded me of mustard sauce so I made a sauce bottle to go with the type:


Regarding lighting, it is possible to download C4D Lighting kits and studio presets. Although there are plenty of websites dedicated to making mockups available to the public it would be good practice to find out what the licensing terms and conditions are, if there are any. I downloaded a free lighting kit here but I didn’t actually end up using any of the presets because it just over-complicated the process slightly for me.

Finished – ‘Ugly Mustard’ and ‘Ugly Lips’

I made two versions of ‘Ugly’:

'Ugly Mustard' by Tracy Ng
‘Ugly Mustard’ by Tracy Ng
'Ugly Lips' by Tracy Ng
‘Ugly Lips’ by Tracy Ng

My main inspiration for ‘Ugly Mustard’ and ‘Ugly Lips’ was this advertisement designed by Singapore-based design studio ‘Machineast’:


©Tracy Ng. All rights reserved.




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