In the new trailer for Toy Story 3 the toy protagonists enter a stage-like corner of a child’s room. They have been trying to create a logotype for the upcoming movie and as it seems it had to be done by simple means—their roughly shaped Toy Story 3 is made of a ball, Lego bricks, and the number 3 is doodled on chalkboard. The toys try hard to keep the analogue logo in place, but cannot keep it from wobbling and wiggling.
The toys are not too proud of their work. Cowboy Woody tries to cheer them up. Then Buzz Lightyear, Woody’s antagonist from the movie’s first part, enters the scene.
Woody asks: “Buzz, where have you been?”
He replies: “Sorry Woody, I have been up all night working on a little something.”
The camera pans to the right and a perfectly shaped logo of Toy Story 3 appears. Original fonts with attached shadows, Gouraud shading and a decent drop shadow on the floor. The toys drop their own version and start to praise Buzz delightedly for doing such a good job. Humbly he replies:
“Oh, it is nothing really. A basic form of polycarbonate with a high gloss sealer to bring out the shine.”
I very like this story because it eventually answers a question that I had for several years. I was wondering what interface elements and 3D text actually were made of if they existed in real space. Now I know that it has to be polycarbonate. And high gloss sealer.
I am at ease with this answer, because I now can strike the alternatives from the list that I had collected over the years:
- wood and cloth (Aram Bartoll’s guess for the real Google Maps marker)
- duck tape (Jan Leegte’s guess for the modernist Windows 95 bevel)
- polystyrol (Constant Dullaart’s guess for the spinning wait cursor of YouTube)
- acrylic (Michele Teran’s painted version of Google Maps)
- cotton (Olia’s and Dragan’s guess for Google Ads)
- coated foam material (my guess for Windows’ Submit Button)
One might ask, what makes me so sure that it is nothing from the list above? Even though Buzz Lightyear is a fictional toy, he has to know. He lives in and speaks from the space where the elements actually come from and that is more than one can say for all of us.
(Later defiantly Woody replies: “At least ours lit up.” But, of course, Buzz’ logo illuminates even brighter and shinier.)