Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kinetic Typography

When you type in the two words of our title in the YouTube search box, you will get an impressive list of short films, often home made and based on movie dialogues or song lyrics but also some real commercials, trailers or title sequences. Of course, these are not some new invention. The very first time I can remember seeing something like this must have been the Prince video for “Sign o The Times”, but even that wasn’t the first by far. Wikipedia tells me Saul Bass was the first with the credits for Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest” (1959 and such a fun movie!), but I don’t really know if I should trust them on this.If you know better, please tell me…

If you want to see a lot of beautiful examples all at once, you should visit Naldz Graphics, a design blog which recently posted a bunch of these little gems.

Now if you’ve watched a whole lot of these, just like I did this afternoon, you can Magical Snap - 2010.01.13 20.04 - 008not but notice that most of them look mighty similar… The reason for this is probably because they were all made using the same software: Adobe’s After Effects. (If you are curious how it’s done take a look at an online tutorial here or here.)


I spent some time looking for kinetic typography stuff that looked different. The first thing I found was called “streams of consciousness” by David Small and Tom White. It is some sort of an interactive installation piece where one can manipulate water-like letters via a manual user interface. It’s kind of hard to explain so maybe you better take a look at this site (but I must warn you, loading the video took for ever…)

Magical Snap - 2010.01.13 17.49 - 004Magical Snap - 2010.01.13 17.50 - 005

Magical Snap - 2010.01.13 17.52 - 006 Magical Snap - 2010.01.13 17.52 - 007

The second one I wanted to show you is a music video called “Automotive Hydraulic” by the Studio for Virtual Typography (made for Loca Records in Brighton). Again the text mimics nature and appears to be like raindrops or air bubbles. Remarkably, some of the other images appear to be typographic but are in fact colored lights recorded with long exposure shots.

If anybody knows some other nice examples of kinetic typography, please mention them in the comments.

(Further reading: Basic Typography 01: Virtual Typography by Matthias Hillner, AVA Publishing – where I found the previous two examples mentioned.)

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