3D illustrator Matt Wood’s charming blend of typographic illustrations & random facts

His second 36 Days of Type series explores an array of random facts about 'childhood fun and games' through wonderful 3D illustrations for each letter of the alphabet.

Apparently men who play the guitar are instantly 90 percent more attractive, Nintendo's Mario game is named after the Italian landlord of the Nintendo US office in the early 80s, and the Walkman was created so Sony's co-founder could listen to opera whilst flying.

London-based 3D illustrator and designer Matt Wood has spent hours Googling random facts like these to accompany a beautifully bizarre array of dream-like illustrations for his A-Z series on childhood. 

Matt has worked as a freelancer ever since his two-year stint for the BBC some eight years ago. Now he designs for brands such as Levi’s, Red Bull and Fortnum & Mason. His background is in graphic design, which he studied at the Chelsea College of Art & Design. 

He began to experiment with creating 3D graphics in 2016, and this has become his main passion. Always interested in the world of 3D, Matt thought it would be a stronger medium to express his ideas and creativity, and a chance to move away from designing within the restrictions of brand guidelines. Transitioning into a style of bold and playful 3D graphics - which always focus on one simple idea - has been the best decision he’s ever made. 

This is the second year Matt's embarked on an A to Z series of quirky, playful and truly imaginative 3D illustrations – a continuation from his original work for 36 Days of Type  - a project where designers, illustrators and graphic artists give their views on signs from the alphabet. For each individual letter Matt has paired a random fact inspired by the letter with it for your entertainment, light reading or amusement. This year Matt chose the theme of "childhood fun and games". His use of bright colours captures the positivity and innocence of being young. 

Matt Wood tells us about the creative process behind his simplistic yet genius project.

Miriam Harris: Where did the idea for this project stem from? 

Matt Wood: "I was planning on illustrating an A-Z for 36 Days of Type (Instagram project) but I wanted a way I could push it one step further and bring a bit more fun to each letter.  I have always been a fan of random facts, and thought combining one with each letter would give the project a different dimension, and hopefully make a beautiful collection of postcards people might want to keep."

MH: What is the main message/purpose for the project? 

MW: "I wanted to create something that everyone could relate too, push my skills while having some fun, and hopefully showcase some creativity."

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MH: How did you gather the facts/inspiration for each letter design?

MW: "I started writing big lists of childhood items that began with each letter, and then the hard part was finding a good enough fact that would work well as an illustration.  Google played its part in finding facts but it was far harder than I expected."

MH: Tell us about your creative process for this project - from initial concept to software used. 

MW: "Once I had my concept, I would create a mood board for each letter and would make some rough sketches. Most letters then started in Adobe Illustrator, where I would create a frame of a letter or certain details before importing into Cinema 4D and building everything into 3D.  I then would finish each one in Photoshop, and then straight into InDesign for the facts."

MH: How is different to your other work? 

MW: "Most of my other projects are one image only, so I have more time to really push the design and add all the little details that can really make 3D come alive. Creating 26 letters didn’t give me that luxury of time, but was an amazing way to dramatically improve my speed and skills in 3D."

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MH: Which letter is your favourite and why?

MW: "I love N for Nintendo as its really simple and playing on the NES is one of my favourite Childhood memories. It also got the best reaction when I have shown it to other people."

MH: Which letter was the most challenging? 

MW: "Q was really hard as I spent days trying to think of something fun and interesting that begins with that letter and had nothing.  I must give credit to my wife’s 90-year-old nan for that idea as she thought of quad bikes the second I told her."

MH: What’s next for you?  

MW: "I am looking to keep pushing my skills in Cinema 4D and start using it to create some animations. Hopefully lots of exciting client work throughout the rest of the year, and then I have a big Christmas self-project I have already started planning."

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