It all started with a Christmas gift. In 2012, I wanted to make a necklace for my wife that combined the initials of our two kids. But I didn’t like any of the typeface choices available. Incapable of giving the gift of Comic Sans, I learned Tinkercad to design what I wanted, and had it cast in silver with the help of 3D printing. I created a pendant featuring an E on the front and a J on the side. After I gave it to her, we had dozens of people asking if I could make one for them.
The thing is, we already had a family business that kept us busy – Ultravirgo, a graphic design and branding agency. Like most creatives, we’ve had plenty of ideas for side projects, but time and money are always challenges. But with 3D printing, the manufacturing is done on-demand, making a side business suddenly viable. We decided to build a tool to help people create their own custom typographic jewelry. We named it Mymo, a 21st century monogram of sorts. People can combine any two characters that have meaning to them, without the need to learn 3D software.
From there, it was a collaborative process. I designed a complete typeface – tailored to the limitations of 3D printing and the 2-sided-letterforms of the original. My wife sourced findings. We hired programmers, and worked with 3D printing service Shapeways to handle the manufacturing. We turned to friends and family to find out what they would use a Mymo to represent. They suggested a huge variety—football jersey numbers, anniversary dates, birth dates, kids’ initials, initials of beloved relatives, couples’ initials. And our kids advocated for us to include numbers as well as letters so they could include their ages. (Your age is a big deal when you’re 6.)
The response has been fantastic. We have even had someone use a Mymo to propose, instead of an engagement ring!
We’re really excited about the future of 3D printing. We are planning more typefaces from more designers in the future, along with other material choices. We are also exploring other ways to make products that are well-designed but allow room for customer personalization. We love the feeling of receiving a product that you had a hand in creating. I hope that Mymo also inspires other makers and designers to consider customizable and personalized products, including more collaboration with customers.