KINETIC TYPOGRAPHY: Why do we need the words to dance?

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Bertrand Mougel


Bertrand Mougel Graphic Design Dissertation Bachelor of Arts Honours 2020-21 Glasgow Clyde College Tutor: Elaine Marney

Kinetic typography: Why we need the words to dance? An investigation into the elements of success for kinetic typography in branding.




0.0 Table of Contents 3 1.0 Abstract 5 2.0 Introduction 6 3.0 Literature Review 7 3.1 Perception of movement 7 3.1.1 Gestalt Principles 7 3.1.2. The Retina 8 3.1.3. Cognitive science and visual movement 10 3.2 Motion emotion 13 3.3 On semantics and legibility 17 3.3.1 Semantics 17 3.3.2 Title sequence and branding 20 3.3.3 The limits of kinetic typography 20 4.0 Methodology 25 4.1 Results 25 4.1.1 Question 1: What are the benefits of motion of type in branding? 26 4.1.2 Question 2: How do you add meaning to a typographic design with motion? 26 4.1.3 Question 3: Do you think kinetic typography could be seen as a choreography? 28 4.1.4 Question 4: Do you design kinetic typography to adapt to sound/music design of a brand? 30 5.0 Discussion 32 6.0 Conclusion 34 APPENDICES 7.0 List of figures 36 8.0 Bibliography 38 9.0 Appendices 40 9.1 Glossary of typographic kineticism 40 9.2 Interviews and email replies from designers 42 9.2.1 Email response from design studio JAMHOT, Graeme McGowan, 4 January 2021 43 9.2.2 Instagram reply from Natasha Jen, Pentagram London, 9 January 2021 43 9.2.3 Transcript from interview with Zipeng Zhu, DAZZLE, 15 January 2021, 5PM London Time 43 9.2.4 Transcript from interview with Liza Enebeis, Studio Dumbar, Rotterdam. 46 9.2.5 Email response from Jon L., Advantage London,, 12 January 2021 48 9.2.6 Email response from Holly Farndell, Accounts Manager at OMSE,, 19 January 2021 48 9.2.7 Email response from Daniel Kennington, Jones Knowles Ritchie, 18 January 2021 49 9.2.8 Email response from Sebastien Camden, Camden. Work, 11 January 2021 49 9.2.9 Transcript from interview with Borja Holke, Madrid, 2 February 2021 50 9.2.10 Transcript from interview with Steven Scott, TwoFifths Design Ltd., 13 January 2021 52 9.2.11 Transcript from discussion with João Aranda Brandão, PhD. Graphic Designer, 7 December 2020 54




The aim of this study was to understand the power of kinetic typography which is increasingly used in branding, online visual identities, logos and posters. In depth research was carried out on the psychology of motion in the Gestalt theories, the physiology of the retina and the cognitive science. This research provided an understanding of how kinetic typography affects the viewer, and how the perception of motion is hard-wired to the brain. The relation between choreography and kinetic typography was investigated as they have similarities like conveying emotion or storytelling. Furthermore, the review of studies on semantics shows how kinetic typography can add meaning. Kineticism can be used as a language similar to the system of figures of speech. Finally, the study looked at how motion of typography can affect the legibility of letterforms. This research is integrated with interviews from 10 graphic designers regarding their use of kinetic typography in branding. Complementary to the literature review, designer gave their insight about: the benefits of kinetic typography, how they added meaning with it, if they designed motion of type like choreography, and how it related to sound. The interviewees confirmed the findings of the literature review, while introducing to a different aspect of motion: Not only the kineticism of letterforms can be the most attractive visual, and meaningful form of typography, but designers are also animating typography to create a unique sensorial experience. The kinetic typography can fluctuate and transform between letterform and picture, using both visual signs to communicate with the viewer. The more it requires the viewer to understand what is happening, the more memorable the experience is. The relation between kinetic typography choreography was confirmed with the rhythmic, the iconic moments, and communication of emotion. However, this does imply that the letters always relate to human bodies in motion. The impact of sound design along with kinetic typography is considered important but not essential as the kinetic typography must be efficient on its own.


In this dissertation we will first investigate the psychological effect of movement on the viewer. The graphic design principles defined in the Gestalt Theory, as well as research in neuroscience help us understand the dramatic importance of movement to draw attention and communicate information. In the second part we will consider the similarity between kinetic typography and choreography in its ability in conveying emotion to the viewer. The third part will investigate the semantics of kinetic typography. We will also investigate how legibility is affected and examine examples of its use in branding or title sequences.



3.1.1—Gestalt principles Kinetic typography uses movement to animate letterform design. To first understand the primary effect that movement of typography has on the viewer, we must investigate the research of Gestalt. The theories are then completed by more recent research on eye physiology and neuroscience. Nathan Knobler observed that the viewer’s need to understand and find meaning in the world described by psychologists, was directly linked to the need to involve and stimulate the viewer in design. When solving a typographic problem for instance, the designer creates complex interactive spatial environments that connect the viewing experience and the typographic forms with the written language and the message. (Knobler, 1967) How does a viewer experience those visual environments and which design psychological principles can a designer apply to kinetic typography? In the 1920s, a group of psychologists named Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Kohler, and Kurt Koffka in Germany founded Gestalt psychology. The word Gestalt is the common German noun for shape or form. It has been applied to a body of scientific experiments in sensory perception. The Gestalt principles are essential for graphic designers as they provide an understanding of how we perceive visual objects, and their arrangements. More specifically, the Gestalt principles of movement, and dynamics (Arnheim, 1974), provide the founding elements of motion perception. These principles are applied to abstract objects as well as letterform.(Figure 1, page 9) The famous Gestalt slogan was “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. Therefore, a mosaic is seen as a ‘bundle’. Their belief was that a visual sensation was not made of small sensations added together, but it was the whole sensation that was perceived. This whole sensation is not only made of visual elements but also made of the subject’s experience and cultural background. “The


mosaic or ‘bundle’ hypothesis. Every ‘complex’ consists of a sum of elementary contents or pieces (e.g. Sensations). Thus, to sensations ‘residues’ are added of earlier perceptions, feelings, attention, comprehension and will. Memory also attaches itself to the sum of the contents (Wertheimer, 1938, p12). Barbara Brownie believes that this hypothesis is generally relevant in all lettering and typography. Letterforms can be treated as a collection of parts (Figure 2, page 9). For instance, letters are made of strokes in handwriting. Type is made of various regular components like counter, ascender, and serif. Letterform can also be perceived as a more complex agglomeration. Words are collections of letters (Brownie, 2015). “Kinetic motion applied to the letters would have a particular significance when perceived as contributing to a whole.”(Brownie, 2015). This Gestalt principle drafts the idea that the motion of a group of letters that form a word can have a specific meaning. Gestalt psychologists affirm that organisms perceive entire patterns or configurations, not solely individual components. (Britannica, 2008, p. 756) In other words, a whole cannot be complete by an accumulation of isolated parts. Natural phenomena are not described appropriately if they are analysed piece by piece. In the Gestalt theory, there are six laws of perceptual organisation associated with design: similarity, continuation, closure, proximity, figure/ground, and symmetry and order. Those principles can be exploited in motion design, but do not directly concern movement. For instance, a series of flashing lights on neon signs or strands of lights often appear to be moving. According to the theory, the impression of movement occurs because the viewer fills the missing information between each flash. This is explained by the law of closure. In motion this phenomenon is also called Phi. Max Wertheimer first described the Phi phenomenon which is the form of apparent movement. This apparent motion is observed if two nearby optical stimuli are presented in alternation with a relatively high frequency.(Figure 3, page 10)


A later addition to the Gestalt principle is the notion of common fate. This principle states that the viewer will group together objects that are pointing towards, or are moving in, the same direction. In nature, this connects to how we see groups of elements moving in a similar direction. (Soegaard, 2020) Examples of this can be found in bird murmuration or schools of fish. They are made of many single individual elements moving seemingly as one. Our brains automatically group them together and treat them as a single stimulus. Interestingly, the elements do not necessarily need to be moving. Drawing arrowheads on lines or circles can trigger an interpretation of shared common fate. To benefit from this principle, elements do not actually have to be moving, but they do have to give the impression of motion. Whether the common fate is applied to form or letterforms, the brain would associate them together in a kinetic typography piece.

3.1.2—The retina Motion is first detected by the eyes. It is essential to understand how the eye transmits this visual message to the brain to understand the effect of kinetic typography on the viewer. The retina is at the back of the eye. It contains the cells that respond to light. These specialised cells are called photoreceptors. There are two kinds of photoreceptors in the retina: the rods and the cones. The rods are the most sensitive to light, shape, and movement changes but do not discern colour. The cone cells are not as sensitive to light, but they are most sensitive to colour. There are 96.6 photoreceptors per retina: 4.6 million are cone cells and 92 million are rod cells. (Curcio CA, 1990). This shows already how many movement receptors there are in the retina compared to colour. The central region of the retina is called fovea (Figure 4, page 10). The fovea is the area that provides the clearest vision. It is only composed of cone cells. It is where the focus of the attention is most important. It also means that this area is less stimulated by

proximity similarity closure ⬛1

common fate



⬛1 Summary of some of the Gestalt Principles of Form Perception used in kinetic typography.

⬛2 Modular letter ‘A’, the Gestalt principles of similarity and proximity suggest that the separate shapes are associated. The principle of closure proposes that the viewer would ignore the gaps between the shapes and see the group as a letter. (Brownie, 2013)



Cornea Pupil


Lense ⬛4

the surrounding. Meanwhile the rest of the retina is made of rod cells that are more reactive to light and difference of contrast, and movement. It is this surrounding area that plays an important role in drawing the attention to something that the eye is not looking at. It is our most sensitive motion detection as well as our peripheral vision (Williamson, 1983.) The latest research described by Dragoi and Tsuchiani show that the same differentiation appears in the retinal ganglion. Retinal ganglion are neurons connected to the retina. The type of ganglion that are sensitive to motion have a more powerful response than the other cells detecting colour or static stimuli. Again, the detection of movement has priority over other elements of the visual field. (Dragoi, 2020) This understanding of what information is communicated first from the retinal receptors to the neurons might explain the importance of movement in a visual design and kinetic typography. More specifically in terms of hierarchy, the movement of a word amongst a page of text would have a much bigger impact than any other typographic parameters like size or colour. In an interview led by the author with design academician João Brandão, he confirmed that his research showed that: “Movement is more powerful, versatile, captures more attention than colour or size”. (Brandão, 2020)

3.1.3—Cognitive science

⬛3 Demonstration of the Phi phenomenon, narrow sense for an apparent motion that is observed if nearby optical stimuli are presented in alternation with a relatively high frequency.


⬛4 The retina, showing the morphology and structure of the fovea. It displays the location of the ganglions connected to the rods and cones before transmitting the information to the nervous tissue and the brain.

A research called The neurology of kinetic art by neuroscientists Zeki and Lamb was able to observe which parts of the brain are activated by the visual perception of kinetic motion. They observed the visual cortex of the viewer looking at a static painting showing illusory movement or a moving mobile artwork. From futurism to abstract kinetic sculpture, the brain activity detections—depending on the stimulus—are various and not fully understood yet. The specific part of the brain specialised in motion perception is called the dorsal stream. This part of the brain

would show activity while watching motion happening but illusory motion on a static picture was also triggering activity in this part of the brain. (Figure 5, page 12) If static kinetic art had the potential to stimulate our motion perception, the static kinetic typography from the Futurist movement may have been a definite first step to create a connection between type and motion in the viewer’s brain(Lamb, 1994). Motion is subconsciously processed by the brain and allows moving patterns to pop out. In an article on visual attention and motion design, product designer Mark Hazlewood describes the cognitive aspect of our visual perception. The brain plays an important part in the perception. An example of it is a temporal illusion called ‘chronostasis’. It occurs in the illusion known as the stopped-clock illusion. The second hand of an analogue clock appears to stand still for longer than normal when looking at it for the first time. (Stafford, 2012) This is due to the brain’s constant attempt to build a smooth perception of the world by our senses. When an interruption of consciousness occurs, like suddenly looking at the movement of the clock, the brain creates an illusion of perception before the perception is received. “Long before you're aware of what you're looking at, your brain has already made lots of decisions about what’s important.” (Hazlewood, 2018) While our eyes are open, they take in an important amount of information. The brain can process and filter the information before we are aware of what we are looking at. Conscious attention on any object in a scene is only possible once that object has made it through this process. Moving things are treated in a particular way during this process. For instance, when the focus of the eye is on something, the periphery is not as important, and the brain filters it. However, objects or events can be flagged by our brain as important to pay attention. It is a phenomenon called attentional capture. It is triggered by orientation, size, colour hue and intensity, and motion. (Hazlewood, 2018) Sensing the movements of the world and the objects within it is a fundamental function for

our visual system. We can sense the motion of an object as we follow it with our eyes. (Robert J. Snowden, 2004) “The brain […] is designed to solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment and to do so in nearly constant motion (to keep you alive long enough to pass your genes on). We were not the strongest on the planet, but we developed the strongest brains, the key to our survival,” (Medina, 2009) In other words, when something moves, we are instinctively noticing it and perceiving it as a potential threat, therefore we pay attention to it. Professor Alexander Holcombe describes it more specifically, “motion towards us suggests a threat while motion away from us may or may not spell trouble”. If something changes direction, its intentions may also change. Therefore, we notice it. Speed and acceleration have a similar impact on our perception. In his article, ‘understanding the Freeze Response’, Hanan Parvez connects our perception of motion to our biological roots. When we notice something that is moving, we pause and watch it. This is called the freeze response. “One of the survival strategies that humans and many other mammals developed was to freeze in the face of danger. Any movement could possibly attract the attention of a predator, which would invariably reduce their chances of survival.” When the environment moves, we stand still and watch until the brain can determine what has changed. This again gives an understanding of how motion of signage, logos, or interface catches our attention more than static design. Motion induces a sense of urgency. It is not about fleeing from a predator, but about paying attention to a brand, name, expressive animation, signage and so on. This explains the importance of kinetic typography in branding, title sequences and visual identity.




⬛5a The book cover of the futurist pamphlet ZANG TUMB TUMB by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti showing a static display of kinetic typography.

⬛5b Exerpt from the futurist pamphlet ZANG TUMB TUMB by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti showing a dancer made out of typographic characters.



The word emotion is derived from the Latin word: “emovere” meaning to move, move out or move through. There is a strong connection between emotion and movement in the etymology of the word. Designer and professor Brandão approached the practice of motion design in typography relating it with choreography. He stated that movement was especially effective in the manipulation of message and composition. The practice of ballet shows how a dancer can “communicate entire messages, stories and feeling” with movement (Brandão, 2015). The motion design applied to type could be designed similarly as to how a choreographer creates a dance sequence. According to the ENCYCLOPaEDIA OF HUMAN EMOTIONS, the motion in dance communicates emotion in the viewer. The intention of the motion is determined by the choreographer, or dance designer, while it can also be perceived differently by the viewers. Different cultures and context would lead to interpreting a motion in a different emotion. “Ideas are communicated through both verbal language and dance, which is language-like with many “languages” and “dialects. […] Specific movements and how they are performed (e.g., Slow or fast, narrow or wide, high or low, stylised or un-stylised) may communicate emotion.” (Brandão, 2015) The vocabulary of emotion and expression of movement in dance could apply to the movement of kinetic type. The human body would be replaced by the body of letterforms. The analogy between the human body and letterform is already a recurring theme in art and design history. Long before the existence of computer screen, designers and artists have tried to put human bodies into letterforms. They created a connection between the human body and “the flat forms of disembodied communication” (Goetz, 2020). The typography designer Frederic W. Goudy, in his book ‘The Alphabet’, showed how a lineage of Renaissance scholars strived to define an optimal letterform based on the “proportions of the human form combined with geometric figures”. (Goudy,


1918) Paciolus, Leonardo de Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, and Geoffroy Tory included. This was not only an occidental fad, as in 1443, Korea’s King Sejong the Great commissioned a writing system that connected body and written language. Body parts like faces and hands are already used to anthropomorphise a letter. Today we can find many designers approach to anthropomorphise letters (to make them look like human bodies). Some designs show “single bodies contorted to form letters, or groups of bodies joined to form letters, and letters formed in bodily space.” (Goetz, 2020) In kinetic typography, this association of human body and type appears to be very useful in branding. The motion of a logotype must create a meaningful connection between company and consumer. Woolman describes the “human characteristics” that can communicate the company’s information. The logotype becomes an actor and a performer. The symbol or icons used as a logo for a company represent individuals, or organisations that were inanimate objects are now moving avatars. Those moving graphics can reflect characteristics in human expression via movement. “They must act, perform and take on dynamic qualities.” (Woolman, 2005, p. 6) In his project Dancing Alphabet, (Figure 6, page 15) Toshifumi Kawahara instils letterforms with the human ability to dance. In homage to Fred Astaire, he uses 3D animation software to create an F and an A that mimic the performance Dancing in the Dark by Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in the movie The Band Wagon. Kawahara produced another piece of work demonstrating how letterforms in a 3D space have “a back side, which, like human backsides, are less legible than their front.” (King, 2008) Peter Bil’ak introduced DanceWriter(Figure 7, page 15), a program that allows users to type a phrase and see it performed on-screen by a member of the ‘Nederland’s Dans Theatre’. He believes that dance is comparable to typography in a way as they both rely on rhythm and harmony. (Mark Thomson, 2010) Dancers can manipulate space with their body. (Figure 8, page 16) They are


“making shapes, defining, and redefining space”. This is similar to a mutating motion, or distortion applied to a letterform. “When the shape of a letter is changed, that letter is perceived differently. Letter shapes are cues that distinguish one letter in the alphabet form from another.” (Carter, 1985) Not only body dance and type kinetics seem to hold a similar power to convey emotion. They also may induce a change of perception of a word in its space and its context. Letters are now “a theatrical component” that is brought to life with motion. (Helfand, 1997, p.51) Whether it is a dance or a play, a kinetic typography may be designed with the same principles of creating a show. The timing, the beat or the appearance of the typographic elements may be coded like human bodies acting or dancing. To further the idea of typography in motion conveying emotion, motion designers apply emotional qualities to the moving logotype itself. In a blog interview, Thomas Hutchings, Creative Director of the Emotive Brand agency in San Francisco stated: “Motion is adding another dimension, another layer, a new way of seeing. It is activating another part of the senses, and when it comes to creating a brand, why would you deny that? Anything that has motion triggers a new sense or emotion in your mind. When things are static, they can lack empathy.” (Ames, 2019) The human-like qualities given to kinetic type are therefore a recurrent theme. The communication of emotion with dance is art with its own language. This language of emotion relates to the language of kinetic typography. However, research in the meaning of kinetic typography shows a broader system of language that can be related to figures of speech.



⬛6 Homage to Fred Astaire, example of dancing 3D letterform by Toshifumi Kawahara + Polygon Pictures

⬛7 The letter S being performed by a dancer. Peter Bil’ak, 2010.


⬛8 ⬛8 Letter A from MOVEMENT' typeface, by NM type captures the art of dance by tracing the human body. NM type worked with South African dancer Andile Vellem to realise the font. Vellem came up with various movements to represent each letter, number, and symbol.



3.3.1—Semiotics and semantics The Gestalt principles of perceptual organisation are necessary to understand how a kinetic typography is perceived, however, it does not offer an explanation as to how meaning is found in that form. Semiotics provide us with the concept of a sign, as a separate object from its surroundings (which is an equivalent to the notion of figure and ground in Gestalt Theory). It provides the tool to attribute a particular meaning, to a sign, or in our case, a motion. In graphic design, as in all types of communication the use of a language is applied. The argument that João Brandão developed in his thesis suggests that there is a language in the motion graphics. This research was based on the work of Christian Metz on semiotics and signification in cinema. Semiotic is the study of sign processes and the production of meaning. There are two main different approaches to semiology, or two main theories of meaning. Charles Sanders Peirce’s approach and Ferdinand de Saussure’s approach. The semiology developed by Saussure mostly applies to linguistics while Peirce is more directly applicable to design. However, Brandão was able to find more meaning when considering motion as a linguistic system. Motion could be theorised as a functional grammar, something that uses aspects of a grammatical system but more specific to motion designers. According to Brandão, Metz applied Saussure’s structuralist semiology and seemed to understand how cinema can be considered as a functional language. The signification of cinema would be found in the relationship between the film, the impression of reality it evokes, and the emotional effect of its audience. The viewers would interpret the language of a film according to their own experiences and cultural references. If there is a cinematographic language used by directors and animators producing motion pictures, there must be a language to understand in motion design to produce meaningful motion. João Brandão’s research was focused on understanding the language of motion


applied to kinetic typography. Brandão explained that movement can clarify the meaning of a word. Motion, applied to a word that has two meanings, intensifies aspects of the meaning of the word, or illustrates it, contextualises the word defining the meaning. Adding movement would be the same as adding a sentence to the word. He described how manipulating text and typography with movement can change the perception of the viewer and therefore change the meaning of the message specified in the wording. This is how motion becomes a semantic tool. The motion can perform punctuation, emphasis, and rhythm. In other words, it can create pauses or divide the sentence, redefine the relation between each word of a sentence. The designer “can use motion to accentuate or obliterate specific parts of the message and as a result objectively manipulate its contents.” (Brandão, 2015, p. 6378) Brandão developed the idea of a grammar of motion. Brandão created a series of animations to formulate questions regarding the movement’s ability to add meaning to a word. His experiments investigated illustrative capacity of movement. It suggested the following hypothesis: The movement could explain something (figurative, emotional, or conceptual). The movement would have the capacity to create a personification, or zoomorphism or figuration—in other words, it could express human or morphological characteristics of animals or objects. The movement would express emotions or even abstract concepts. (Brandão, 2012) For Carter, moving type gives opportunities to communicate in a unique way, thanks to the manipulation of properties like form and behaviour (Carter, 1985, p. 169). He suggested another way to look at how animation adds meaning. He claims that the movement applied by the designer to the typographic element adds a “voice” to the message. It can convey a tone and inflection. Matt Woolman states that expression of meaning can happen through “intonation”. This refers to the modulation of voice or tone when someone speaks. (Woolman & Bellantoni, 2000, p. 32) For instance, Peter Cho, in his exper-


iment called Takeluma, took kinetic typography into the realm of abstraction with his invention of a writing system based on the sound of speech. The meaning the motion provided was “the explosiveness and ephemeral nature of speech”. (King, 2008) Brandão also addressed the importance of hierarchy induced by movement, and how movement could change the meaning of a sentence. It appeared that the temporality was effective in this regard. For instance, the rhythm and timing by which each word would appear had the capacity to modify the meaning of a sentence or emphasise on a specific part of the sentence. Carter’s statement on time is similar. “Time becomes the most significant structural element in the design, with the designer determining a sequence and pace for the message.” (Carter, 1985, p. 155) According to Carter, the pace at which the kinetic typography unfolds, whether it is quick, slow or with dramatic pauses, would establish a mood. Time can also be manipulated, as this technique is also used in cinematography. The content can be sequenced in a linear way. The order of the content or story can also be shuffled, using cues as to what happened or what is going to happen next. (Carter, 1985, p. 171) As the French New Wave film director Jean-Luc Godard stated: “A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order.” (Tynan, 1966) “For the designer communication, the hierarchy of the message is one of the most important elements in the process of visual communication, in the sense that it allows to highlight the strengths of the message and perform an appealing or persuasive or simply informative function.” (Brandão, 2012, p. 297) Brandão’s findings using a semantic approach appeared to be an appropriate linguistic system. He was able to prove that movement acted as punctuation, but also a figure of style or speech. He experimented in animating words using figures of speech like metaphor and allegory but also catachresis (the use of a word in an incorrect way), exaggerating a meaning with hyperbole etc. He also showed that giving



⬛9 João Brandão, “I think everything will be fine.” Animation with a dynamic layout confirming the meaning of the sentence with the shape of the sentence turning into a smile.

⬛10 João Brandão, “I think everything will be fine.” Example of antithesis with the sentence mimicking a boat sinking.


a behaviour to the type with either mimesis (imitation of action), or zoomorphisation (imitation of animals) would convey meaning. Finally, he played with the use of onomatopoeia, (when words directly transcribe a sound) or cacophony (when words communicate the noise of a harsh mixture of sounds) were possible to recreate with the motion of type. He concluded that movement was a language that could complement the text.

3.3.2—Title sequence & branding The fact that kineticism is a way to add meaning to typography helps us understand the development of title sequences in movies. A pioneer in this art was Saul Bass who saw an opportunity to see a movie title in a way that created a story. The technology of cinema evolved and allowed letterforms to be more and more integrated into film and television. On-screen typography and filmed content were once distinct. They are now effectively combined into background environments and are treated in the same way as any other visual elements. The typography is integrated in temporal media and is capable of “dynamic performance” (Brownie, 2015, p. 3) As we once compared kinetic typography to a dance, letters are now “a theatrical component” that is brought to life with motion. (Helfand, 1997, p.51) “Bass fashioned title sequences into an art, creating in some cases a mini‑film within a film. His motion graphics compositions function as a prologue to the movie—setting the tone, providing the mood, and foreshadowing the action.” (Martin Scorsese, cit. in Krasner, 2008) In creating the title sequence with dynamic layout and kineticism, Saul Bass developed the ‘branding’ of a movie, creating a narrative with motion to communicate the identity of the movie the viewer is about to see. Another title sequence designer, leading innovator, Richard Greenberg, considered the title to be a “visual metaphor” for the movie that follows. It has the capacity to set “the tone of the movie”. The title sequence would bring


the viewer into the movie, act as an airlock between the reality and the movie. According to Greenberg, kinetic typography would tell the viewer how to react: “that it’s all right to laugh, that they are going to be scared, or that something serious is going on.” (Carter, 1985, p. 183) The power of kinetic typography in cinema is confirmed for its ability to set a mood, a tone or tell a story. The introduction of motion to typography using the many combinations of semantics can communicate the identity of a movie. This ability to illustrate concepts is also used in advertising campaigns. An example of conceptual illustration was described by Emily King in an article about programming type. “A 2005 TV ad for the Audi A6 […] shows a car exploding into multiple abstract forms, which then flow through an empty cityscape, pausing to spell the company slogan “Vorsprung Durch Technik” (Advancement Through Technology). Made for an international market, the author stated that the smooth dynamism of the phrase’s execution was “even more eloquent than a literal translation”. (King, 2008)

3.3.3—The limits of kinetic typography With the motion of transformation applied to typography, Brownie observes the phenomenon of asemisis, a shift toward the image from the written word. In this media saturated and multi-cultural society, communicating is made more immediate, more ready, more universal, through pictorial forms than through words (Brownie, 2015, p. 57). This would mean that typographic elements would become secondary while the connotation of motion would hold most of the meaning. This would occur in fluid typography, which is a kinetic typography presenting a particular type of transformation. The forms affected would present multiple identities over time. The form could start as a letter and turn into an image or vice versa, in a constant flux. The annex gives an overview of each form of fluid typography: metamorphosis, construction, or revelation. Furthermore, she describes the phenome-


⬛12 ⬛11 João Brandão, Example of onomatopoeia using kinetic layout and distortion.

⬛12 Title Sequence with kinetic layout by Saul Bass, The Man with the golden arm, Otto Preminger.


non of asemisis, which happens when the transformation affects lettering to a point of illegibility. Asemic writing, as defined by Tim Gaze, is when the forms may look like letters but have no specific verbal signification. (Brownie, 2015, p.54) It invites the viewer to try deciphering the new language, and that understanding is eventually unveiled, giving the viewer the satisfaction of a “new knowledge”. However, it also pushes the alphabetic writing aside to communicate directly through pictorial forms. This cultural phenomenon is carried by the kinetic typography in “our media saturated and multicultural societies, as both languages, pictorial and textual communicate in similar ways”. An example of the use of Asemisis is in the title sequence of ‘Alien’ (Riddley Scott, 1979). The title sequence depicts geometric polygons in a line, similar to writing. Progressively, forms add up to eventually construct letterforms spelling the title of the movie. If all motions and transformations are meaningful, designer Chris Gate warns that all motion should have the intention to mean something. He believes that to create an effective kinetic typography, the kineticism of letters and words must be motivated by the message they signify. Random animations and movements would eventually bring fatigue to the audience and they would lose interest. (Gate, 2015) Does motion always improve the communication of a connoted meaning? Motion may improve the communication of a connoted meaning, but this does not necessarily mean a better legibility of type. Barbara Brownie discusses motion affecting legibility, with letterform of words coming in and out of an illegible shape. Peter Cho, from MIT’s Media Lab, describes his guiding concern as “how motion can affect the message in unexpected ways, making it more complex or even counteracting it.” Matthias Hillner shows a different point of view on motion typography. His position is that the improved legibility of a message would not necessarily have the effect expected. He recalls scientific studies suggesting that “the harder it is to decipher a text message, the more


likely it is to be remembered.” He explored the transition of motion typography between the state of abstraction and legibility in space and time. He believes that much of the commercial work such as title sequences and “brand stings” betray the promise of the medium. He argues that “too often it’s a gimmick. They don’t challenge the viewer or explore the potential.” (King, 2008) A successful example following his advice appears in the Atlas series of branding campaigns designed by the Moving Picture Company (MPC) in 2005 for the British Television station Channel 4. Originally the logo is made of the figure 4 built in modular lettering. This allowed the letterform to break down into non-verbal geometric component parts. The re-brand created by MPC was analysed by Brownie in her chapter on fluid branding. She pointed out the use of construction behaviour in this ident, but with the addition of figurative digital objects. Each component part of the “4” are “subtly disguised as elements in each environment shown” (MPC, not dated). Each element would either be in motion or static with a first-person camera moving through the sequence before revealing the logo. The elements would come to a parallax position where the figure 4 assembled briefly for the audience to see. This “visual guessing game” as Hillner would say, captivates and draws the viewers’ attention. “As soon as it appears it falls apart again, leaving a little bit of a visual challenge left so that viewers will want to review the sequence a second and a third time.” (Hillner, 2009)



⬛13 Title Sequence using construction by Robert and Richard Greenberg R /GA for Alien, Ridley Scott

⬛14 MPC, Abbey, 2011 Channel 4 Ident. The figure 4 never completely aligns. The viewer seeks out for the appearance of the figure 4 for a while before being rewarded with just enough alignment to prove that the figure is there. It uses the construction and revelation techniques, many elements composing the form of the figure, slowly revealing the legible shape.




The literature review combines broad and thorough research from design theory books, graphic design thesis’s, scientific papers as well as periodic articles. This provides the key understandings of what motion does to typographic elements in branding. This knowledge is extended with interviews over video call or email from contemporary designers providing insights on their approach, processes and aims regarding kinetic typography. A critical analysis of their branding design will illustrate their variety of uses. Designers interviewed: Natasha Jen, Pentagram, London. Zipeng Zhu, DAZZLE, New York. Liza Enebeis, Studio Dumbar, Rotterdam. Graeme McGowan, JAMHOT, Glasgow. Steve Scott, TwoFifths Design, Edinburgh. Jon L., Advantage London, London. Daniel Kennington, JKR Global, London. Sebastien Camden, Freelance, Montreal. Holly Farndell, OMSE, London. Borja Holke, Holke 79, Madrid.


The use of kinetic typography in branding appears to be very fashionable. The decision process regarding motion, the intention and the reasons for motion were investigated in the format of 4 open-ended questions. Question 1: What are the benefits of motion of type in branding? Question 2: How do you add meaning to a typographic design with motion? Question 3: Do you think kinetic typography could be seen as a choreography? Question 4: Do you design kinetic typography to adapt to sound/ music design of a brand or vice versa?

4.1.1—Question 1: What are the benefits of motion of type in branding? There is an overall agreement that kinetic typography is a must for brands. They should all have motion, “things cannot be static anymore” (S. Scott, TwoFifths Design), a seamless integration to adapt to video content, “otherwise it just looks ridiculous” (S. Scott, TwoFifths Design). You want to attract attention in this fast-paced world, as “people are used to a lot of visual stimulus” (B. Holke, Holke79). The necessity of motion is also connected to the communication technologies being omnipresent with screen devices like phones or advertising screens. “Every brand requires a robust online presence” (S. Camden). The motion allows a brand to be adaptable to all the different platforms of communication. “You can’t have a screen and have things that are static” (L. Enebeis, Studio Dumbar). The kinetic typography is claimed to add fun, energy, and vibrancy to a brand, with more expression and personality added. It creates emotion and allows the design to tell “more than one story”. Because the motion design involves time, there is a beginning and an end. Zipeng confirms that the duration is a way to add another layer of storytelling. Most interviewees affirmed that motion allowed us to communicate complex concepts, add more meanings, and make the information a lot more


digestible. It “allows us to say more, communicate ideas and concepts, develop personality” to a brand. (Camden, S.) It would have the ability to convey “complex themes or concepts in a short space of time” and make it more “digestible”. (Jon L., Advantage London) In this screen-based communication, the kinetic type is recognised for its effect on the viewer’s brain. First it has the potential to grab attention but also provide a memorable experience. “When done right it can be a shortcut to the brand in your mind” (D. Kennington, JKR Global). In other words, the motion would “imprint the mind of the audience” with the brand attitude (Advantage London). It is about creating a unique visual sensation. Zipeng would add: “I like to play with people’s eyes and heads, […] I want them to be confused” (Z. Zhu, Dazzle). However, designers insisted on the importance of not only using motion when it appears to add something to a brand, “not just for the sake of motion in itself.” (G. McGowan, Jamhot) The kinetic typography should have a “thought through animation style” (D. Kennington, JKR Global). In this regard, Natasha Jen from Pentagram stated “Motion is never a thing of its own. It’s an extension of an idea.”

4.1.2—Question 2: How do you add meaning to a typographic design with motion? The meaning added by motion is looked upon in different ways by designers. It is not only about conveying meaning through a narrative, but also attitude, emotion, or energy. Some look at it like a choice of “colour or typographic choice” (S. Camden). Liza from Studio Dumbar adds “when you pick certain colours for organisation to represent certain feelings, the way you design motion also evokes different feelings or emotions”. Borja compares motion and colour too, as another layer of communication. It can be subtle and bring elegance (B. Holke,


⬛15 ⬛15 Pentagram, Eat Offbeat by partner Natasha Jen. Eat Offbeat is a social impact food company offering cuisine created by former refugees and immigrants in New York City. The logo illustrates the idea of migration with type shifting and moving before settling into a staggered arrangement that are visually “off the beat.” The subtle motion communicates the principle of the brand.

⬛16 Studio DAZZLE, Electrica by Zipeng Zhu, stroboscopic typeface with each colourful element in constant flashing colour changes and movement, creating a dazzling memorable experience.


Holke79). It is not always needed to convey meaning with motion. It can also be a matter of adding energy to the design. For instance, the rhythm of a motion is a way to convey a different feeling or emotion (L. Enebeis, Studio Dumbar). Motion is also reflecting the tone of voice the brand is willing to use with the audience. They all agree that what is added with motion is fully depending on context and content. (McGowan, Jamhot) It must originate from the brand and be tailored to it (Kennington, JKR Global). The meaning of the motion must be built as the design of the branding logo is unfolding as it would be “hard to try and bake into a design once it’s completed” (Farndell, OMSE). Some designers like Zipeng will look at kinetic typography as a playground to create visual puns, looking at letterform and words as if they were pictures and recreating this double vision to the eye of the viewer. Examples were given of complex illustration concepts through motion. For instance, the Studio Dumbar was able to describe the concept behind the Cumulus Park, a group of enterprises exchanging together. The typographic logo animation shows letters made of geometric objects transforming by taking and giving parts to other letters. It is the way the particles of letters move to shape and be part of other letterforms that became the visual identity. It is applied on all the elements of the brand, either in motion or in a static suggested motion. Another similar example is the branding by TwoFifths Design of Transforming Change, a company helping restructure enterprises. The visual identity is build around a 3D typographic logo constantly turning on its axis and changing shape but always spelling the letters T and C.


4.1.3—Question 3: Could kinetic typography be seen as a choreography? The answers regarding choreography were divergent. Borja believes that choreography is very important, “if things move together, they work together and it is pleasant to watch”, but it is not always needed, it depends on the message (Holke 79). Overall, it is admitted that it is not a default position. It is a specific viewpoint that would not apply to all briefs. Choreographic techniques can be applied to typography but would not always turn into a choreographic piece in the end. Daniel from JKR Global recognised that the flow of the message giving the feeling evoked and the fact that it has to look good does relate to choreography. But the most important is the message as it is copy writing that is communicated. Again, Liza from Studio Dumbar would not think of kinetic typography as similar to dance. However, like choreography, “you can create a lot of tension with it, pulling, pushing, repetition”. Zipeng does not think of type as human bodies dancing either. But there is a similarity to choreography when creating a bigger piece of animation with a build up with balance, contrast, and drama. There would be specific key moments that are to be focused on and celebrated at a specific time. The animation would be designed similarly to what a choreographer would create in ballet, building up and unfolding between each state to create specific iconic moments. Finally, Steven from TwoFifths Design compared kinetic typography to a play more than a dance, with letter features and entering the stage like artists. Designing each step like choreography would happen when a motion piece is longer (e.g., 10, 30 second or one minute) or even a title sequence. The motion length would also be closely related to the budget allocated to the motion at the beginning, which would be supported by particular briefs. However, Sebastien Camden imagined that letters and words were dancing and that they needed to be on the beat.


⬛17 ⬛17 Studio Dumbar, visual identity for Cumulus Park, a new district in Amsterdam for collaborative innovation. The elements from each letterform are switching from one letter to the other, or shape change to another letter. This is a fluid typography using construction with multiple elements to build and unbuild the letterforms. It transforms from one legible letterform to another. It communicates an abstract concept through the motion, illustrating the exchange of ideas and sharing work.

⬛18 Visual identity by TwoFifths design agency for the company Transforming Change, with an animated cube block constantly evolving, making up the initials T and C. It is a fluid kinetic typography with metamorphosis creating the letters T and C in 3D under every angles. It communicates the concept of the company which to help adapt and stay stable while transforming and changing.


4.1.4—Question 4: Do you design kinetic typography to adapt to sound/music design of a brand or vice versa? The reference to sound and how the animation would be inspired by it or adapting to it was suggested by several designers like Sebastien Camden or Holly from OMSE. Holly sums up the general belief that it can go either way. Sound can inspire the approach of motion or motion can define the appropriate sound. Both sound design and motion design cannot be developed in isolation as they would need to have “the same tone and character”. (Kennington, JKR Global). The use of sound is another sensorial element added to vision. It has its own way of conveying meaning, emotion, and energy to a design. Jon from Advantage London and Liza from Studio Dumbar both pointed out that people would often choose to have their device on silent, which has to be considered in the design in order for it “to stand alone without the need for all senses” (Jon, Advantage London). Liza did emphasise that the use of sound “can be really exciting” and “change the whole mood” of a piece. Zipeng stated that he would have a vision of what a kinetic typography can be before thinking about the sound for it. However, he agrees that when the animation must relate to music, the research for fitting in music is a priority once the keyframes of the storyboard are approved.

⬛19 Jamhot studio, branding for Track Record, founded by former Olympic & Commonwealth athlete David Carry, a company that provides elite coaching to world's top businesses. The stylised logogram reveals the words Track Record in an ephemeral unfolding. The words retract and the logo disappears, leaving no trace. The kinetic typography illustrate the energy and the clarity of the work provided by the data driven company.


⬛20 JKR Global, Identity for gymnast Courtney Tulloch with 3D visual language of the ring with a custom type in motion imitating the 360 degrees rotations. The logo reveals a legible logogram with letters C and T. All the branded videos use the same language of motion with the letterforms. The range motion revealing the illegible geometric shapes into letters illustrates the gymnast ability to “make the impossible possible” as the JKR case studies suggests.

⬛21 ⬛21 OMSE, visual identity for Grounded, a coffee brand with no plastic in the supply chain. To reflect this strategy, they created an identity with letterforms that decompose. The motion illustrates the concept of the brand, by making the letterforms illegible then disappear.



The insight from contemporary designers on kinetic typography confirms the power of kinetic typography over static typography in omnipresent screen-based communication devices. Question 1 emphasises the importance of movement in branding design, almost as a matter of survival of the brand itself. A brand with an animated logo would look more professional and credible. Would it correlate to the way branding was developed before the apparition of screen technology? The sensorial feature of a specific paper, embossing, foiling in stationery used to be a way to make a brand stand out and be remembered with the sense of touch. The designers also have a clear understanding that motion is the most effective way to catch the attention of the viewer’s brain. Motion would make the brand adaptable to all communication platforms and stand out. Many benefits are claimed regarding motion, from expressing a brand’s unique personality, display energy, communicate complex ideas, and create a memorable experience. The most compelling is the ability to use motion to confuse the viewer. Confusion is a way to make the experience even more singular, involving the viewer and therefore becoming memorable. However, question 2 gave a different outlook to how meaning is embedded in motion. First, the unicity of each brief and branding project would require a specifically tailored approach to motion and transformation of typography. Each branding design would see a different approach and have its own language of motion and its own way to engage the audience’s mind. Secondly, the idea that “a motion conveys a meaning” is not the only aim of the designers. They agree that a narrative can be connoted in kinetic typography, and that complex concepts can be communicated better than in a static design. However, this enhanced communication does not mean that legibility is improved by motion. Most designers interviewed use motion as a branding tool to convey a tone of voice, a vibrancy, an energy, a mood, an attitude. This motion design can make the letterform

illegible. The designer relies on the motion to communicate the branding experience instead of the word. The legibility is not always a priority as Brownie described with use of fluid typography. The research on the semantics of motion developed by João Brandão gives us an understanding of how motion worked like a system of language. The analogy between motion and figures of speech is very evocative of how kinetic typography can be used. His theory is applicable, but it seems that some designers are also seeking to create a direct sensorial experience. The kinetic typography would become a visual phenomenon, bypassing the intellect to create a memorable experience of the brand. Would it be possible to develop a phenomenology of kinetic typography? The designer also justified kinetic typography as a way to create a sensorial experience making the brand more memorable or create a “short cut to the mind”. The idea that motion could influence the ability to remember a brand is an interesting view that could be investigated further by cognitive scientists. How would motion and memory be connected? What catches the viewer’s mind? Is it confusion, asemisis, the understanding of what Barbara Brownie called “new knowledge? (Brownie, 2015) Question 2 revealed that meaning can be found in the combination of word play and asemisis. Designers like Zipeng (Z. Zhu, DAZZLE) or Sebastian (S. Camden, Freelance) depicted the attractivity of “visual puns” when designing kinetic typography. Examples were given of animating words playing with its similarity with another word, or the similarity with a picture. How the letters “e” in the word sleep or the letters “o” looked like eyes. The latest kinetic typography he created shows the abbreviation XOXO revealing the Chinese New Year sign of the OX in the middle of it. This shows how a word or letterform can be ambivalent, both seen as a picture or a text. The kinetic typography would not only add meaning but confuse the viewer by leading it to experience a word or a letterform in a new way.

The variety of answers to question 3 show that it is incorrect to limit motion of typography as being a dance. As a temporal design, it has similarity to a play or a ballet choreography. Kinetic typography builds up to one or several iconic moments that will be memorable for the audience. The drama, the aesthetic and the rhythm of the design follows the same rules as the design of a movie, a play, or a ballet. While the choreography aspect is refuted as a literal dance of the letters, it is admitted that sounds effect rhythm and music can be an important ally to a kinetic typography piece. As Sebastian stated, the kinetic typography can follow a beat (S. Camden, freelance). In this way it would emphasise how the typography moves and changes as a temporal medium. The rhythm, tempo and intensity of the sound could highlight, accentuate, or complete the meaning that is communicated by the kinetic typography. Question 4 would add that both sound design and kinetic design must be considered together, in order to convey the same tone. However, there is no specific order in which kinetic typography or sound should be designed first. Unfortunately, the kinetic typography relating with sound cannot rely on the sound. Indeed, the animation must be made fully effective without the need of sound as many screen users opt to have the sound off. The addition of sound can be very exciting (Enebeis, Studio Dumbar). There would be a need to investigate the power of sound design in branding and correlate the results with the ones of kinetic typography.


⬛22 Advantage London, E4 channel ident for the E4 Estings competition with typographic figures ‘4’ behaving like human bodies walking into and taking the lift upward. By using an anthropomorphism, “Jon created an E-partment block where E-folk floated gracefully around watching quirky retro film footage 24/7, surrounded by electric colour-changing wallpaper!”



Visual motion is the most powerful way to engage the attention of a viewer. The retina is most sensitive to it and its perception is hard-wired to the brain. Designers use this potential to create a shortcut to the brand in the audience’s mind. To ensure a meaningful kinetic typography, the potential motion must be considered from the start of the design and be tailored to the brand. Kinetic typography uses many motion and transformation techniques that can communicate meaning in the same way as figures of speech. However, designers are also animating typography to create a unique sensorial experience. The kinetic typography can fluctuate and transform between letterform and picture, using both visual signs to communicate to the viewer. The more it requires the viewer to understand what is happening, the more memorable the experience can be. Kinetic typography is a temporal design that uses similar techniques to that of choreography: the rhythmic, the iconic moments, and communication of emotion. However, this does not limit the letters to being perceived like bodies dancing by the designers. Like in a play, a ballet or a movie, the key moments are carefully designed in time and space to be iconic and memorable to the viewer. The use of sound design along with kinetic typography is an added feature that is considered very impactful. However, it is not essential in the design as the kinetic typography must be efficient on its own.


⬛23 Sebastien Camden, promotional teaser made for the 20th Edition of the International Mutek Festival. It was made with the goal of revealing the official lineup festival and kick off the whole festival. The kinetic typography is a mesmerising layout in motion with revealing, sliding and disappering words. The use of tracking modulation makes the letters disconnect and reconnect, playing with legibility and revealing the word's meanings as the band names.

⬛24 ⬛24 Holke79, visual identity for Entropia, a festival about Visual Music Experiences in Zaragova. The typography is a key element throughout the comunication system. The focus of the kinetic typography is about creating a visual experience in relation to the identity of the festival.



Figure 1: Yalcinkaya, et al.(2018) VisualCOBie for Facilities Management: A BIM integrated Available: https:// Visual_Search_and_Information_Management_Platform_ for_COBie_Extension [Accessed 10 October 2020] Figure 2: Wikipedia (2020) Demonstration of Phi phenomenon (Magniphi with 8 circular elements) Phi phenomenon, last edited on 10 January 2021. Available: [Accessed 4 December 2020] Figure 3: Barbara Brownie (2013). Modular construction and anamorphosis in Channel 4 idents: past and present. The Journal of Media Practice. Available: https:// pdf?sequence=5 [Accessed on 4 December 2020] Figure 4: Jay Patel (2015). Understanding the back of the eye. Templeman Laindon Opticians. Available: https:// [Accessed on 13 December 2020] Figure 5a, 5b: Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1912). Zang Tumb Tumb: Adrianopoli. Parole in Libertà, MOMA, New York. Available: works/31450?artist_id=3771&page=1&sov_referrer=artist [Accessed on 11 November 2020] Figure 6: Toshifumi Kawahara + Polygon Pictures (1991). Dancing Alphabet, Rikuyo-sha Publishing, Inc., Japan. Available: [Accessed on 10 October 2020] Figure 7: Peter Bil’ak, (2011) The Dance Writer, screenshot. Available: dance_writer_app [Accessed on 14 December 2020]

Figure 8: NM type, Letter A from MOVEMENT' typeface, screenshot. Available: design/nm-type-movement-dance-inspired-font-design-indaba-04-05-2019/ [Accessed on 16 December 2020] Figure 9: João Brandão (2012). Tese de Doutoramento em Design, a grammar of movement, Filme III.5.c. P. 320 Figure 10: João Brandão (2012). Tese de Doutoramento, a grammar of movement, Filme III.6.c. P. 321 Figure 11: João Brandão (2012). Tese de Doutoramento, a grammar of movement, Filme III.6.c. P. 328 Figure 12: Saul Bass (1955). Title Sequence by Saul Bass for The man with the golden arm by Otto Preminger. Screenshot from Art of the Title website. Available: [Accessed on 27 January 2021] Figure 13: Richard Greenberg (1979). Title Sequence by Robert and Richard Greenberg R /GA for Alien, Ridley Scott. Available: [Accessed on 15 February 2021] Figure 14: TV Ark (2011). Channel 4 Ident, Abbey, screenshots. Available: watch?v=4Pqehql1xU0 [Accessed on January 15, 2021] Figure 15: Natasha Jen (2020) Pentagram London, Eat Offbeat logo, screenshot. Available on [Accessed on 10 Jan 2021] Figure 16: Zipeng Zhu (2014) Studio DAZZLE, Electrica moving typeface, screenshot. Available on http://zz-is. it/electrica/ [Accessed on 7 January 2021]

Figure 17: Studio Dumbar (2020), Cumulus Park visual identity, screenshot. Available on: https://studiodumbar. com/work/cumulus-park [Accessed on 11 January 2021] Figure 18: Steven Scott (2021) Transforming Change visual identity, screenshots. Available on: https://www. [Accessed on 7 January 2021] Figure 19: Jamhot studio, branding for Track Record, founded by David Carry (2021), screenshots. Available on: [Accessed on 18 January 2021] Figure 20: JKR Global (2020), visual identity for gymnast Courtney Tulloch, screenshots. Available on: [Accessed on 18 January 2021] Figure 21: OMSE design studio (2020), Grounded Coffee visual identity, screenshots. Available on: https://omse. co/projects/grounded/ [Accessed on 15 January 2021] Figure 22: AdvantageLondon (2013), E4 channel ident for the E4 Estings competition, screenshot. Available on: [Accessed on 6 January 2021] Figure 23: Sebastien Camden (2019), promotional teaser for the 20th Edition of the International Mutek Festival. Available on: [Accessed on 2 January 2021] Figure 24: Holke79 (2021), visual identity for the festival Entropia, Zaragova. Available on: https://www.instagram. com/p/CL5EXX3C8ae/ [Accessed on 1 March 2021]


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9.1—Glossary of typographic kineticism


It is useful to explore the terminology that allow us to talk about the different kind of typographic motion on screen. By naming each effect we can recognise them in title sequence and branding and reflect on the effect the viewer. Matt Woolman analysed typography and kinetic effects via three angles: Space, type, and time. Later, Barbara Brownie focused only on ‘kineticism’, mapping different categories and their relation to each other. Both mappings of the kinetic typography are complementary with the semiology of motion developed by Brandão. Each provide tools to recognise which kind of kinetic is used and may suggest what it might communicate to the viewer. SERIAL PRESENTATION Type that happens to exist in a temporal environment but is otherwise static (Wong P.6) The example of this are title cards, that are printed then directly filmed. This serial presentation is identified by Wong as being different from kinetic typography that moves or changes. It works similarly to reading printed text. Only the appearance of the words is happening at a particular time. SCROLLING TYPOGRAPHY This is when the typographic arrangement stays the same but moves inside the frame of a screen. This is a technique use in title sequence, or credits where words pass from the one side of the screen to the other. Scrolling can be set digitally to happen in a 3D environment. It can overlap filmed scene and adapt to the pace of the live action-footage happening in the background. This can give the illusion that the text is embedded to the landscape.

DYNAMIC LAYOUT This term describes the motion that happens when letters or words start moving independently from one another. Practitioners choose to use this technique to draw attention to next words or sentence and therefore facilitate the reading. For instance, words appear in and out of the screen at the pace that simulates reading speed. “The most aesthetically pleasing dynamic compositions are those that treat every key frame as an independent work of typography, following the same rules of composition that would be applied in a static arrangement.” (Brownie, 2015, p. 14) Both Scrolling typography and dynamic layout feature motion based on change of location. These changes follow a specific rhythm and visual composition. The importance of dynamic layout is used by Brandão for instance to replace punctuation, add emphasis, and rhythm to a typographic composition. Proximity, or space, pauses or divisions can affect the relations between each part of a sentence. LOCAL KINETICISM Letterforms may be mutated, broken, altered, leading to transformation within individual forms. Motion is described as a “global phenomenon” that affects the way distinct forms interact with the space they occupy. Here, the letterform is not interacting with the space but within itself, changing and evolving on its own. Creating what Matt Wollman would call an “elaboration”. (Woolman & Bellantoni, 2000, p. 37) ELASTICITY Letterforms that show local changes are considered “elastic” by Brownie. Though they are recognisable as a letter, they do not always have the same shape. In this ‘kineticism’ the letter is malleable. It can be distorted to produce italic or bold, the contours can fluctuate, change

state. The letters behaviour can illustrate the word they signify. An example is given in ‘It’s Alive’, Jason E. Lewis gives the word ‘pull’ an elastic behaviour. This distortion effect can allow the type to interact with its environment. Brandão would qualify this specific example in the capacity of motion to illustration the concept of a word. FLUIDITY The main idea developed by Brownie is that the letterforms transform instead of moving. (Both motions are not exclusive). This transformation would allow the letter to change identity and affect its legibility. Fluid typography describes individual letterforms changing location, shape, or identity, to the point of becoming something else. They may lose their linguistic identity and blur boundaries between image and type. The letters may be typographic only for a while. Brownie discerns 3 kind of fluidity: metamorphosis, construction, and revelation. Metamorphosis relates to the letterform ability to be distorted into another form with a continuous morphing flow that binds the two different entities. Construction appears when different parts collaborate in the construction of a whole letterform. This may happen through motion of parts. It could also happen with the use of parallax: The parts would be static while the camera moves to a specific point of view to create a whole letterform. Revelation is a kind of mutation that does not let the audience see the creation of letterform identities. Those identities are already there, but initially hidden. Parameters like colour or illumination can create revelation.



9.2—Interviews and email replies from designers


9.2.1—Email response from Graeme McGowan, JAMHOT, 4th January 2021

piece itself to add some sort of meaning or emotion to the piece. For us, it’s always content and context

9.2.2—Instagram reply from Natasha Jen, Pentagram London, 9 January 2020

dependent. Interviewer: What do you think are the benefits of motion of type in graphic design, and more espe-

Interviewer: Do you think kinetic typography could

cially in branding? How would you decide to apply

be seen as a choreography? Do you look at letter-

motion to the design and if not, why?

forms like the body dancing?

Graeme: Motion provides a good way to add some

Graeme: Of course, you could choose to adopt this

vibrancy and energy to branding work and is increas-

type of viewpoint and it’s a nice way to think about

ingly becoming a vitally important component of

things. Although it’s not our default position. We have

brand especially when considering online applica-

used motion in this manner with a dance/arts com-

tion. Since we started the studio 13 years ago motion

pany previously but otherwise would rather maintain

has been an important part of what we do. It allows us

an open mind to what motion might represent and

to say more, communicate ideas and concepts, devel-

achieve as it relates to a particular brief. Also, it can

op personality and grab attention. When undertaking

come down to how long you want to spend on the

a project, we always consider how motion might be

motion aspect and with this what budget you have

best utilised without having any predetermined ide-

to develop it and whether the particular brief sup-

Interviewer: How did you start designing things like

as about this—but instead letting this develop as the

ports that.

kinetic typography?

9.2.3—Transcript from interview with Zipeng Zhu, DAZZLE, 15th January 2021, 5PM London Time

project evolves. It is important to use motion in ways that add something to a project and not just for the

Interviewer: Do you design the motion of logo-

Zipeng: So, I’m the, the most boring story is that,

sake of motion in itself. It must add to the work you

type in regard to the sound/music of a brand? Or

um, I was, I took a motion graphic class when I was in

are doing overall rather than just be for the sake of it.

is it more likely that the logo design influences the

college, and that one of the first project was to do a

sound branding?

motion self-portrait. We have to basically make an animation about ourselves. And my concept, I can save

Interviewer: How do you add meaning to a typographic design /logotype with motion? What

Graeme: We do not have a fixed way of doing this—

the video afterwards. So, this is my first ever animation.

meaning do you add with motion?

as it all depends on the idea. If we are doing a piece

I say the first animation I have made. And then that is

where the music is an important lead part, then we

my introduction of I will say animation in typography

Graeme: This all depends—and I think has to ulti-

would work on some rough motion ideas but would

as well, because I was like, Okay: my name is a poem

mately be underpinned by a strong / sound idea or

then develop in line with the music. Other times you

right and there’s a letter I in my name, but then eyes

concept before you start any motion work. We use

might focus on the animated element and then add

also eyeball. So that’s basically how the whole con-

motion in different ways—sometimes to add meaning

some music to it as an addition and in this instance the

cept came together. Because it’s like, you know, it’s a

sometimes not. It all depends on the brand, the brief,

music would be secondary to the animation itself. So,

portrait so I have all five flying around at the end of the

and the project itself. What motion does allow you

in this regard we would look to adapt our approach to

day if you know end up in my name, so that became

to do is better tell a story and within that it’s impor-

suit the idea at hand.

me. So that was like, you know, like a personal sto-

tant to get the balance right. For example, sometimes

ry plus a personal typographic expression. Yeah, so

motion may be used to add an energy rather than a

that’s sort of where it all came from. But then I don’t

specific meaning. Other times you might take a dif-

love making animations. It’s not one of my favourite

ferent approach where you are looking for the motion

things to do when it comes to like, super complex


ones because I felt like it’s funny because I gave a

ending. And then the process, yeah, that means that

day, actually, like, 26 I animated 25 letters, that they

talk a few years back, you can check this one out, too.

it gives you a way to add another layer of narrative into

all animate into z, because I’m the last letter. So, like,

It’s a table graphics, I gave a talk on typography. And

the storytelling that you want to do. And for me, and I

these are all the letters that you know, animated into z.

then one of the reasons I don’t love animation is the

think all type lovers, that type can do so much of sto-

You know, so like, I think, um, when it comes to type,

amount of time that you spent in it’s not worth how

rytelling of its own. Already, then, if I can add duration

it’s because of the form it’s still flexible, it allows you

much time it gets come out. For example, surely that

to it, it becomes a story. Or it can tell more of a mes-

to take advantage of the form, and then use that as

animation that you saw, probably took me two months

sage than static and that’s one of the main reasons

a tool to deliver the message that you want to come

to make, but it’s like, you know, 30 seconds. So the

that I decided to animate type. That being said, that’s

across. And I think that’s one of the biggest reasons I

animation that you see me making, it’s probably like,

like one way of thinking, and then a lot of my work, if

animate, you know.

you know, 10 minutes, 15 minutes for three seconds

you look at them, they’re looping animations, right?

You know, one more thing that would be helpful for

of an animation. So like, That, to me. It’s like, not fair,

They’re all seamless loops. And then that the other

you, okay, is that I, one of the reasons that I play with

you know, like the trade-off. It’s not fair. Okay. But,

side of me, like I like to play with people’s eyes and

type the way that I do, it’s because I’m super dyslexic.

um, but I will say, the outcome, it’s worth it. Like, that’s

heads, like I want to f*** with them, you know, I want

I actually, like when I look at letters, I see them just as

the thing, you know, like, I felt like, every time it’s like,

them to be confused. I want to not know how this has

shapes. Okay, so I think that’s why one of the reasons

oh, my God, this is not fair. But at the end of the day,

been made. I want them to really, like get lost in some-

maybe I become a designer because I see them not

I see what it looks like. I’ll say, you know, what, fine.

thing that I make. And that’s the other side of the story.

really as words, I sort of see them as like shapes. And

Yeah, that’s the thing. But I will say, from that anima-

also, the fact that I’m from China. Third language, like

tion was like the kicking point of my, you know, ani-

Interviewer: So maybe it is not conveying a sto-

these two parts has played so much into how I see

mated type expression. Everything really started to

ry anymore, but a conveying a sensation, like

power because you know, Chinese, it’s a hieroglyph-

take off once I started working at Sagmeister. I didn’t

something that would not have been experienced

ic, right? Like every meaning. It’s, you know, every

finish my animation class; I just learned the software

before visually?

letter, it’s from an ancient drawing, you know, the, our caveman as, so like, I sort of see English letter in some

and dropped my chops off. I don’t like it. But when I started a Sagmeister, I was the only one on the team

Z: For example, well, I’m gonna share the screen for

way. Also, it’s that, like, I felt when you write it out,

that can animate. Okay, so I just animate more and

one more time. Okay. I can just show you what that

you can sort of see what it could mean. And then and

more and more and more and more, and then how I

talk is when I gave it at Typographic. And it’s not like

that’s why I’m trying to get out of it. You know, like, for

became an animator.

Um, so, let me see. So, this was one of the first ani-

example, what was the one? Like if you type the word

mation that I made, okay? And it’s a letter Z, yes. But

yay, like, YAY Okay. all caps. It looks like someone is

Interviewer: And so, what do you what do you add?

it’s abstract, you know. So, it’s a letter Z, however you

crying. Okay, so, yeah. I mean, so like, my, my life has

How, why do you add animation to a typographic

look at it, you know, without it fills up, but then once it

a lot of like, that. If I look at a word, I will see, like, how

thing? Is it just because it is what you asked from

fills up, it gives you a different dynamic than how it was

can I make this word makes the most sense. Like, for

you? Or is it like, there is something in the in the

before, right? Or, you know, or you know, that there’s

example, in the word sleep right? The two E looks like

project that you suddenly feel like it needs to be

ways to play with letterforms that changes perspec-

eyes closing. Yeah. So, I can use that as the base of

animated? And what does it add to the project?

tive, like this M doesn’t matter how you twist a turn, it’s

a foundation to express the work just with the word

still the same exact M and that you see from before,

itself. I see. Yeah. So, you hear it. You look at the word

Zipeng: Yeah. So, um, one of the fundamental men-

okay, or, you know, there’s different ways to, you know,

and it’s like, already a picture in itself.

tioned things about animation is animation, at least in

play with layers. There are ways to add, like, you know,

After Effects or an animation in general, but mostly in

a message like this, I made for pride, you know, like,

Interviewer: Did you did you animate Chinese char-

After Effects, it’s from point A to point B, what happens

there’s so many possibilities of animated typography

acters as well?

in three, right? So that means you have a start and an

could do. And this one is a project I did for my birth-


Z: Like I definitely animate Chinese I would say like

really bring out the animation and then to really, like,

tions, every single, it’s made of that one. Design, Okay,

the animations, I make in Chinese are less…How do I

celebrate what each process is. So, I think me that’s

this one graphic, And that, to me, was like, a way to

say this? I do animate Chinese. Right now. Like I sort

something that’s kind of like a choreographer, it’s like,

really celebrate the culture and they really liked to

of how do I say this? Like, the opportunity like I tried

you know, I think, you know, if you think about Black

embrace the culture, you know, because everything

to pick right now because I’ve lived here for you know,

Swan, like there’s a few moments are just so iconic.

that we do, came straight from the source of where

11 years my English brain it’s a little bit more dominant

And then like, I think I like to think when I make ani-

the culture is coming from. Yeah, therefore, we’re real-

than my Chinese brain. Don’t get me wrong. I think in

mation that I would have created those moments for

ly paying tribute and then being respectful for that.

Chinese language all the time. But right now, definite-

each animation that I make.

ly like if you ask me, you know, if like a hot water trip

Interviewer: It was just really, really impressive. The

on my skin, my first response to say f*** instead of

Interviewer: And actually, that brings me to that

other thing that I really enjoyed was the electrica.

f*** in Chinese. I don’t know if you had this moment.

work you did for the Jewish Museum?

Like, apocalyptic animation that came with sound

Because, um, there’s one day I think I think the second

as well it’s, is it a thing that there’s quite frequent in

year, maybe the third year I’m here. Yeah, like, just one

Z: Yeah, that was that was kind of was quite a long

your work? Would you like, have sound design as

night I had a dream in English. Yes, I woke up in the

piece and you look at it and it felt like you were just

a symptom as animation? Would you do the sound

middle. And I was like, What the hell? And then more

explaining the whole process of a branding work

design yourself? Or? What comes first? Like, do

on like, my English became the more dominant part

through the abstract patterns turning into tape that

you think of sound first and then the design comes

of my brain, you know? So weird. I mean, I am glad

that that is really a word that was like mind blowing for

with it? Or like the opposite?

because I think for Latin based language, it’s more

me. Yeah, so um, so for this kind of thing. Like you, you

complicated because you just share so much similar-

walk your way through the patterns first and then you

Z: Um, it’s so funny that you asked this because, like,

ity because I speak Cantonese and Mandarin like that.

went into typographic animation?

I really see myself as a one of the persons that has

Sometimes I get confused.

Well, I am gonna give you the whole story of Jewish

the worst taste in music. Like my like, I have been told

Museum. Okay, it was the first project that I worked

many times. I do not have a good taste in music, which

Interviewer: Okay, one of the things I was interest-

on. Okay, as a professional graphic designer. All right.

is it’s fine.

ed in is whether you would look at animating type

So it was, the first project I worked on. Sagmeister is a

in the same way as like, somebody would design

first project I worked on ever since I graduated. So, it

Interviewer: You’ve got a Billie Eilish t-shirt on,

choreography or a play? Do you think of type as

was just a lot going on. And then even more so is that

that’s not bad!

like human bodies?

it was a cultural institution, right. So, like, that part, it is very crazy, it’s because, you know, I’m not Jewish,

Z: Yeah, so like, you know, like, but you know, like, I

Zipeng: Um, I don’t think type as human bodies. But

and then, you know, all of a sudden, like, I have this,

listen to a lot of pop. Okay, you know, like, that’s most

there’s one thing that I would say I’m similar as a cho-

you know, gigantic museum project in front of me that

my, you know, I’m not super experimental. I like some

reographer is that when it comes to a bigger piece,

I not only need to deliver the past, but also really play

sassy rap, and then some, you know, Billie, and then

yes, to me, it’s all about balance and contrast and the

respect and tribute to the culture that this museum is

that’s about it. And it’s a musical. So, it’s like a very, like,

drama and, you know, in the arc, right, so I would, for

representing. And then that is very, I would say, intim-

I would say, fundamental kind of, like, you know, music

longer, bigger animation, I usually planned out differ-

idating, and crazy and difficult, so the whole concept

thing. But it’s funny, because every time I show, like a

ent key frames, and what like the most important, like

of the identity, it’s based off the sacred geometry,

collection of the animations, I make it, and everybody

moments that I want to focus in type, okay, so I know

where the Star of David originates. And we use that

always asked me about the music. And that’s why like,

how can I basically it’s, instead of just from point A to

to basically build every single thing out of the identity,

for me, because it’s like, I really do not think I’m good

point B, it’s like, Point A to Point B to point C to point

whether it’s the logo type, or the pattern, or the extra

at this. But somehow people seem to like it. So, the

D. Like so all the key states, right, okay, from that I can

typography that we’ve made, the icon or the illustra-

music goes both ways. For electrica is the opposite.


I have this idea that of this type. I want to make a cra-

Interviewer: What to do you mean when you said

zy pulsing type. I just have the idea. No, that doesn’t

that animation wasn’t actually your favourite thing

make it. But then once I designed the whole alphabet,

to do in design. So, what is it that you like best?

I said, Oh, you know what, maybe I should make like

9.2.4—Transcript from Interview with Liza Enebeis, Creative Director of Studio Dumbar, Rotterdam. Tuesday 19th January, 9:30AM, London Time.

a specimen of the tape. And that was the moment I

Zipeng: Um, it’s, like, I think when I say like, animations,

was like, Oh, it’s missing music, but then I don’t want

not what I like, it’s the fact that I don’t love making long

Interviewer: Basically, came up, found your agen-

to use any I don’t want to use any instrumental I don’t

form animations. Okay, I like the tiny little ones. I like

cy, and it’s just very much spot on my research,

want melody. No, I just want sound because like this

the trippy ones I make because I think those are fun to

because I’m looking at them looking at designers

type does not it’s not rhythmic. You know, it’s cha-

f*** with people, you know, um, but to me, right now,

that work with branding and motion. And so yeah,

os. You know? It’s just noise. So, I decided, like, I just

um, my, like, the one that’s on top of my head is like,

so I’m just trying to get to get a few insights from

literally type in, like on YouTube, you know, electric

if I can come up with like, a clever pun, for like, either

designers basically. And, yeah, my first question

sounds, and then I just found bound a bunch of them

for like merch store, or for like, just social in general.

would be, is your agency are mostly focusing on

and that’s put them on top of each other. That is where

Like, that’s what like, kind of excites me like, the other

animating for branding? Or is it just because that’s

like, Electrica came from. However, that being said,

day. So Chinese New Year, it’s about to happen, right?

people are asking for it?

um, for, like some of the other things that you’ve seen,

So, this is gonna be the year of an ox.

that I’ve made, I can send you a link. Like we have a

Liza: Our main focus is creating identities for differ-

reel last year, like, everything that we’ve made for like

And then, um, I had this idea. That is instead of the year

ent companies. And, and it’s not that every brand that

a longer form animation, either the soundtrack is pro-

of the ox, It’s the Year of XOXO. But then in XOXO, the

we do, we also have motion, but a lot of it. But before

vided to us, or like, sometimes what we do is like, after

word ox is still in it. Okay, so like stuff like that. That’s

I think the majority of projects, we also have motion

the storyboard, like the key-frames are approved, the

why I’m interested right now. How can I play with puns

that goes with it. And I think motion really enhances

first thing that we do is look for music. Okay, and then

both in Chinese and English? That to really make a

the experience of the brand. And especially because

like, this one, I don’t know if you saw the variable type

thing out of it. Okay, that’s where my brain is right now.

now 99% of our communication is digital. Motion really

animation that we made. Yeah, it’s like a trap music.

And that’s really exciting because, every time I think of

helps also connect the different platforms, it creates,

It’s really cool. It’s really hip. Okay, for things like that.

something, I’m so clever. Like, that’s my that’s my like,

it’s an extra layer of identity. For example, I mean, you

We definitely spend a lot of time on finding the music.

how my what excites me the most right now. Um, and

can’t have a screen and have things that are static. I

And like, even though I think I have a very bad taste, I

I have a Few, like, potential personal projects that, like

think that’s, I think that’s what is so great about screen-

know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. And that

I’m thinking about ideas for, it’s, you know, not exactly

based work, you can tell more than more than one

was one of the things I can say you a link, hold on. I

like the birthday animation that I made, but in a similar

story. And so, motion really adds to the experience.

also, by the way, I just sent you a bunch of Chinese ani-

realm of concept, you know, it’s just a strength that,

mation that I’ve done. Like, by all means, I care about

you know, it’s basically a project people would look

Interviewer: Okay, yeah. That that’s answering

music a lot, but I don’t know a lot about it. So usually, I

like was like, why would you spend time making this?

my one of my main question about the benefits

just ask the people that work with me to like, who has

of motion? So, you are adding meaning? Do you

good taste to take a deep dive on, on the music, but

know what sort of meaning you are adding?

more so I just have to really helped me to, you know, find something that truly works with it. I’ve sent you a

L: What brands needs to express for example if you

link of the Adidas one where I think the music is real-

look on our website, there’s a project called cumulus

ly good. To use it for our reel like, I really spent time.

pond. There motion is really almost explaining the idea of, of the whole project. It’s an area in Amsterdam, where different companies come together to


exchange ideas to work together, and it’s all about

YLA, which is for men, the men’s or the boys and the

ments, but I’m not sitting there going Oh, like, no.

exchanging content. And so, the motion literally shows

women’s team, they also have these arrows. So that

You know, I’m not. I don’t you know, I mean, other

the exchange. I think, if you did it in a static way, it

principle, just continues through the entire branding.

people talk about motion related to music, but defi-

would not be as strong as when you literally show

nitely, there’s a reason and motion place have a big

what does that mean when you’re working together?

Interviewer: I’m coming back on the one that you

role. It’s also a sort of way of telling a story, you know,

Because by working together, you also create new

talk to me about the Cumulus park. Actually, when

like, I think choreography, I mean, in a way similar,

forms. And that’s what is you see in that project? In

I was looking at it, I was so puzzled because the,

there’s like, you can create a lot of tension with it, you

other projects motion is using a more subtle way it’s

as you say, like, so there is like letters changing, but

know, pulling pushing, repetition. I mean, if you have, if

not explaining an idea, but it enhances an idea for

to change they take pieces from each other, which

you’re creating a motion piece for 10 seconds, 30 sec-

example, DNAD festival. The concept of the whole fes-

is really cool. How does that work? Is it like a pro-

onds, or one minute, it takes you need to think about

tival is called imagine everything. So there, we show

gramming or did you animate all the bits together?

your steps of one to five seconds piece is very differ-

the word imagine, which is quite static. And when we

ent to a one-minute piece. Yeah. It requires another.

want to show everything, it’s something that really

Liza: It’s a mixture we use. Well, it’s coded, it’s pro-

Yeah, you need to, so I think writing out your story,

opens up okay and bring introduces new things and

grammed, and we use processing and then through

and what are the, you know, the ups and downs, like a

that opening. Also, we show that through motion is

that, we created an application. I think you can see it

movie, you know, there is, you know, there’s the hero,

really shows that feeling of everything so, so you can

also on the website. And that’s with that application,

they tried to kill him, you know, he saves, he kills the

use it in many different ways. Like either to explain

you can change the size of the dots, the shapes of the

bad guy. It’s the same thing in a way. And you’re doing

things literally, or to evoke a sort of emotion is just like,

dots, the speed that it has the exchange. So, it’s not

that in. In Motion, you’re making a longer piece other-

I think when you use motion is just like how you use

only, that’s interesting about motion, motion doesn’t

wise, I mean, for shorter standing for a logo, animation

colour. You know, when you pick certain colours for

mean that you’re only using After Effects. You can use

stuff, like an entire story. But still, there is something

organisation to represent certain feelings, the way you

any tool to create different experiences. Now we’re

that keeps you keeps you looking even in the sim-

design motion also evoke different feelings or emo-

experimenting more using coding, okay, to create

plest things.

tions very hard or very, as a different rhythm gives you

different motion experiences.

a different feeling of it’s very soft.

Interviewer: Yeah, it’s a bit like a title sequence ? Interviewer: That really adds like because usually

Interviewer: Um, what about, there was anoth-

you transform a letter into some else but here that

L: Exactly. Okay, what do you reveal? When you’re

er one that I saw? For club Brugge. How did that

letter is transforming and also exchanging with

what you’re doing it? It has to always link to the thing

motion come up?

the other one. And I was just like, Oh, I have not

that you’re designing for. It’s not, we don’t design, we

seen that before. That was really cool. Okay, um,

don’t make a motion and then go, oh, maybe it’s for

Liza: Yeah, club Brugge is the champion team in Bel-

my third question, that’s something I have found a

that. It’s really, the core of the motion is connected to

gium. And they have this motto. Now it’s in my won-

recurrent theme, basically, with typography being

what the identity stands for? What does it mean? Yeah.

derful Dutch, which is in Dutch, it says keep going.

often related to human body, I was just also look-

And it’s that continuous movement. Over, it’s a con-

ing at how kinetic typography might be related to

Interviewer: And actually, talking about branding.

tinuous movement. So, with that, we created these

dancing. Or choreography. Do you? Do you think

So, like, either it’s a looping animation, or it will be

arrows that are moving, it’s also the, you know, it’s the

of designing as a choreography? When you when

as you said, a longer one. Do you do it sometime

nature of the sport, the action. And that became the

you think of animation for text?

along with sound or music?

motion property for everything that we design. So, if you see club Brugge socials, there’s this movement

L: Not necessarily. Yeah. Not necessarily. Not literally

L: Yeah, lot of the times we can mention, I think sound

of arrows. If you then look at the Club NXT, and Club

dance. But definitely move. I mean, definitely move-

really helps. Okay. Of course, because it really enforc-


es the motion that you see. And vice versa. And we

design the sounds, but we’ve can do sound editing.

dance and move in personification or otherwise can

commissioned musicians to write specifically the

Okay. You know, we’re not musicians. I mean, we play

deliver humour, style, and character. Motion tracking

pieces for the for the project that we’re working on, I

music, but we don’t “play” music.

techniques now delivered by software can make this

think that can be really exciting. You really can change the whole moods by the sound itself. Unfortunately, when it comes to showing work online, like on social media, if you go onto Instagram, and usually there

kind of approach a whole lot easier.

9.2.5—Email response from Jon L., Advantage London, advantagelondon. com, 12 January 2021

nobody watches things with sound. So, you need to take care of where you use it.

What would come first, motion design or sound design when designing an animated logotype? For the reasons of the question above one would

Hi Bertrand.

imagine that if pursuing a choreographic style route

I hope the below will help!

to your animation that the sound would likely come

Interviewer: I see. Okay, and how does it work with

first given that is going to lead the idea. Consider-

sound. Do you get the sound designed you do the

What are the benefits of motion of type in graphic

ation must be given those two users and how they

animation or the other way around?

design, and more especially in branding?

view animation as devices cannot be controlled by the brand. If users opt to have their device on silent

Liza: Usually, in the process like closer to the end. And

Animating text in a branding context can bring per-

or muted, then this is something that has to be taken

then it’s really working together because then you sort

sonality and expression to a message. This is efficient

into account when planning an animation in order for it

of adjust the sound to the motion but just the motion

and memorable—conveying sometimes complex

to stand alone without the need for all senses. Subse-

to the sound so it’s really. It’s really a working together.

themes or concepts in a short space of time.

quently, leading an animation with sound design could present some problems for this reason.

Interviewer: Okay. So, you already have like the

How do you add meaning to a typographic design

Kind regards,Jon

motion designed but then you need to tighten it?

/logotype with motion?

9.2.6—Email response from Holly Farndell, Accounts Manager at OMSE,, 19 January 2021

L: Yes, when it’s complete. Okay. And then we also

Everything stems from the idea. We would ask some

start brainstorm. You know, it’s also if we commission

questions before commencing:

of course. A commission Sounds designer, if we just

1. What are you trying to say?

take sounds, I mean, we have to use stock, for exam-

2. What tone of voice do you want to use for your

Hey Bertrand,

ple, or there’s no budget or however and we are given


Thanks for reaching out and for the kind words!

a sound space, then we select the sound piece and

3. What do you want the audience to do once they

Of course, we’d be happy to help. Please see our

start building the motion around the sounds piece

have received the message?

answers to your questions below:

because we have no, we cannot change the sound

4. What attitudes do you want your audience to imprint

so easily, you know? Oh, it really needs to. It depends

in their minds after viewing the messages conveyed

1. What are the benefits of motion of type in graphic

on how you start.

by your brand?

design, and more especially in branding?

Interviewer: Cool. Um, and so, is all the animation

Do you think kinetic typography could be seen as

Kinetic typography enables us to go into a new level

work and programming done inside the agency?


of detail, words especially can take on more meaning than just in the written sense. From a branding POV,

Yeah, everything is internal unless it’s so incredibly

The arts have definitions for a reason, but choreo-

it means you can further explore how something is

busy that we will have to hire somebody. The only

graphic techniques can be applied to typography but

experienced and really push an idea.

thing we don’t do internally is sound. Okay, we don’t

are never going to be truly choreography. Making type

48⬜ 9.2.6—EMAIL FROM JON L.

2. How do you add meaning to a typographic design

1. Motion type in branding is another ownable asset in

each other should have the same tone and character.

/logotype with motion?

a brands toolkit, we are moving so much more into a

Brands always have characteristics, and these should

digital world and typography is such a key bit of what

be imbued in everything the brand does.

I think that actually, you start with the idea and then

brands are using. When done right it can be a short-

Hope that is in some way helpful!

what form that idea should take. If an idea leads you

cut to the brand in your mind, can create emotions,

All the best, Dan

to create a typographic design or logotype, it should

and can make information a lot more digestible. When

be clear what your parameters for play are and where

done right it should be a really seamless integration

you could take things. It really hard to try and bake

and part of the brands make up. Some brands can lean

meaning into a design once it’s completed!

on typography more than others, but all should really

9.2.8—Email response from Sebastien Camden, Camden. Work, 11 January 2021

have something ownable with a thought through ani3. Do you think kinetic typography could be seen

mation style that they can use across multiple platforms.

1. What do you think are the benefits of motion of type in graphic design, and more especially in

as “choreography”? 2. Meaning should always come from the brand itself,

branding? How would you decide to apply motion

Yes, when you look at the work which DIA has creat-

from what makes the brand different and ownable,

to the design and if not, why?

ed for Squarespace. It’s interesting to note that a lot

something no-one else can use. We try to imbue some

of this work and the movements are actually inspired

of this meaning into the animation and typography

Animating typography is to me, an amazing way to

by sound.

styles of all the brands, so Courtney was all about

bring character (no pun intended), uniqueness and

impossible geometry of what he does so it made

fun to a brand or a composition. Since every brand

4. What would come first, motion design or sound

sense to do a typeface that mirrored it. A lot of the time

now almost requires having a robust online presence,

design when designing an animated logotype?

you see fairly similar logo animations and typography

and since technology as lead us to have screens in

animation, the best ones for me are when the anima-

places with high traffic (i.e., Subway and bus stations),

tion style is really considered and tailored to the brand.

brands have been seeing for a couple years now that

It really depends on what idea and feeling you are trying to get across. You could use sound to inspire

animating their brand assets and visuals is a great

your approach to motion, or alternatively use motion

3. In a way yes, it’s often used for messaging so needs

way to catch the attention of the potential audience.

to define what sound would be appropriate.

to have a flow to it, needs to look good but what is

Whether it’s on their iPhone or computer screen, or

I hope everything above answers your questions, and

more important is the message you are trying to get

simply while they wait for their transportation. Since I

best of luck in writing your dissertation, sounds super

across, are people reading the content and under-

am known as graphic & motion designer, brands often

interesting! Thanks + take care, Holly

standing the message and does it evoke any kind of

reach out to me to animate assets that I would need

feeling towards that brand (fun, dark, kiddy etc.) there

to create or that are already existing. So, taking that

are so many visual cues in animation that is a short cut

into account, I never really need to decide or to push

in people’s minds to a tone / feeling they should be

for graphic elements to be animated, it’s pretty much

having. When paired with really good copy writing it

always the goal. Sometimes though, after a couple

is such a powerful tool.

iterations of an animation, I might propose not to ani-

9.2.7—Email response from Daniel Kennington, Jones Knowles Ritchie, 18 January 2021 Hi Bertrand, Hope you are well, someone forwarded

mate a certain word or sentence because it makes it

this onto me and thought I was probably best placed

4. I think this can be either way round if I am hon-

illegible. This would usually be due to a time constraint

to answer. First thanks in taking an interest and sounds

est, as a visual agency we often start with that side

imposed on the animation. Being able to understand

like a great dissertation, think it is something that is

but ideas on how things move can also come from

and read the type is always the priority... Unless it isn’t!

becoming more prevalent in branding and we will see

audio. They both should feel like they come from the

I’ve had multiple projects in the past where reading the

a lot more of it in the years to come!

brands values though so even if done in isolation of

information wasn’t the exact goal of the promotional


video. It was rather conveying a mood, an energy, or

dancing, but I’ve definitely imagined that the letters

have a very obsessive professional writing. As a lot of

a visual impact to the viewer.

and words were dancing and that they needed to be

these graphic designers do. It matters, you know, and I

“on beat” or else it will appear as clunky and “off” to

had a new band with some of my friends. And I was the

the audience.

one at some point, I was the one that started to make

2. How do you add meaning to a typographic design /logotype with motion? What meaning do you add with motion? When we’re talking about branding and logos/logo-

the posters. Okay, so I had no computer in the 90s in 4. Do you design the motion of logotype in regard

my in my home. So, I started with yes to copy paper

to the sound/music of a brand? Or is it more likely

and open. And that just cutting and pasting and all that

that the logo design influences the sound?

I, this was a moment when I discovered the beauty and the complexity of like, Okay, this is so this detail here.

types, I always present motion as an additional asset for the brand to use to strengthen their brand. I ask

It can actually go both ways; it really depends on the

I mean, from that moment, I became like a typogra-

them to see it just like the colour and typography

piece you’re creating. If it is a logo animation, then the

phy lover, like, so then. I studied journalism. That was

choices that have been made, and/or the shapes or

sound design would likely come after the animation.

not my path, I think. But I started that. And then I went

assets created. Those are all things that we know and

Unless the client demands for his logo to be animated

into graphic design after that because I love to paint.

expect to see in a brand today. Motion design is simply

on a specific, already existing music. That would be

I knew I wanted to be a painter, and I was very bad at

another great tool to make your brand more singu-

the same for an explainer video. I’ll design the video

that. So, I studied graphic design, and then step by

lar, differentiate himself from the competition and/or

until I have a complete storyboard, then create an

step I became motion graphics designer. I was like, I

deliver a better and more accurate message or mood.

animatic (animated storyboard) and add the official

don’t know. Yeah, it was because my first internship

music or a place holder track on it so the client as a

was in Spanish television. Okay. In Canal+, it is French,

Let’s say you’re doing a brand for a local library named

good idea of where the project is heading.

but we have in Spain too. I know. Yeah. There were I

“bookie” that has an online store for customers. After

But in the case of any video that would use an already

was in the broadcast design department. Okay, so it

the brand has been done and the logotype, the colour

existing music, I’ll always ask for the track first as it’s

was graphic design for television. So, the animation

palette and art direction have been all approved, you

going to be the core and main inspiration for the type

was part a very important part of the mix. And the fun

could also offer a charming logo animation that would

animation. In that case, you can use all of the creativity

aspect of all this is that at that moment, I didn’t like

transform the two o’s of “bookie” into blinking eyes

of the track at your advantage: sync movements and

animation. I really thought it was a phone that was

for two or three (you can imagine a very slick and not

animations to specific sounds and sections to make

very technical. I love to watch it. But for me, it was so

at all tacky animation here). Then the “bookie” logo

it punchier and impactful. Let me know if that works

difficult. I knew I wanted to make flyers and posters,

could loop from time to time on the website. Maybe

for you. All the best!

because all of these complexities, but they were very

the two eyes become the preloaded when pages are


kind my colleagues and they teach me some mini-

loading on the online store. There are many ways that you could expand on that idea to make the user experience more unique and slightly more memorable.

mal aspects of animation. From that I started to build

9.2.9—Transcript from Interview with Borja Holke, Madrid, 2nd February 2021, 4PM London Time

that. Because when I went to like, step by step, and some point, this is the typical moment when you see another’s studio professional, work about something that you love. I don’t know what was the first because,

3. Do you think kinetic typography could be seen as a choreography? Do you look at letterforms like

Interviewer: My first question would be how did you

you know, this is this is how it is you know, animating

the body dancing?

get into doing animation for typography?

typography is not nothing, not something new right. Now, the way that it we are doing it now, it’s kind of

You could say that! Rhythm is definitely something

Borja: That’s a good one. It’s like, I always explain that.

new, some levels of technical complexity or even the

crucial when it comes to type animation and motion

I’ve been obsessed with letters from when I was a

aspect of how the movement gives some expression

in general. I’ve never really seen letterforms as bodies

teenager. And I’m very kind of really obsessive. So, I

to letters. You are it feels new is important. So, when


I saw that this is becoming a trend. I was okay. I know

another layer of expression, you know, that you add

think of other ways to make the word move and

how to design I love typography and I No, I need to be

on top. And you need to be careful, too, because it’s

add meaning?

a graphic designer when I see a trend that I like, yeah.

also another layer of complexity. And sometimes too

It’s not like I trained it, when I see it just always looking,

much complexity. Doesn't add something but it makes

Borja: I said, it depends. Sometimes it’s something

you know, for surfing, you know? Yeah. Okay, because

a whole mess. I think these days that people are used

very literal. I have a series of animation that was about

my wave is my wave. And, like, you know, you know,

to a lot of visual stimulus. Visual very complex things

walk, the text literally walks. Okay. I was working from

ways you can do very difficult in the technical aspect

they are used to. Because if you if you follow these ani-

an online live library. It’s like, it captures motion. It’s

work. But it’s more about having the minimum skills.

mated posters, we can agree that a man or a woman

realistic. So that’s very literal. And then other times,

My desire was to be a graphic designer that animates.

in the 19th century. They can’t read anything. It’s like

it’s like, it’s just everything about communication cam-

And then the main part for me is like, you know, being

they would say WHAT IS THIS? But we are like training

paign, it is about elegance, class, and stuff. So, you

from concept or painting from feeling the aesthetics of

our eyes to this more complex. For me it’s another lay-

need to add something to the title. So that it’s very

the typeface or is more about how you give us a sense

er of expression. The meaning that you want or even

subtle, very elegant, very calm. And also, sometimes

of the word is not like, no, it’s not so difficult. That’s

sometimes is very beautiful because there are things

if you work more from the from the feeling, not adding

why then I proposed the rest of the platform, okay to

that are very subtle, but they add to the concept like a

something that is a part of the message as a state of

make, because now there are plenty of people teach-

maybe something is all about speaking or something

mind. Are you are talking to young people in display

ing. Amazing tutorials, but then you asked not many.

that’s expressive and you add a very short movement

on a cell phone? Everything needs to be very flashing

So, there was like, adapting space to think that’s why

there. So no, like, very flashy or Yeah, you can add

very loudly. So, you know, it depends. Well, no formula,

I went there, my stay. But so, um, so when I see trend

meaning, you know to the communication.

you know, you need to see the whole scene.

that I like, I jump into that straight-away, yeah. Interviewer: Yeah. Great well actually talking about

Interviewer: Um, quite interesting that you talked

Interviewer: That’s super interesting. Okay. And

meaning. Could you tell me more about how you

about words that walk. When you animate typog-

so actually, yeah, I’ve noticed your courses. I’ve

add meaning when animating?

raphy, do you also think about it as maybe a cho-

already subscribed to one, but I haven’t started it.

reography? Or do you think of the letters as like Borja: It’s like all these motions to me. So, it’s like, you

bodies? Like human bodies? Maybe like making

Borja: It’s not it’s not difficult. It’s like, because you

need to know what you’re communicating? Or what’s

them dance? Or is it something else?

freak out when you see all the buttons in, for exam-

the concept? And then you choose everything from

ple, cinema 4d. Yeah. Like when you go into a plane?

there is like to choose a colour from there. Yeah, like

Borja: Yeah, sometimes, like, for me, this is a good

you have something very serious. Not pink. So, in

question. Because choreography for me, a lot of

Interviewer: I’ve got like 4 question. But we can like

terms of colour, you have to make sense. And then in

times is super important. As a concept, you know,

go around it. That was my first one is like, what do

terms of the motion is the same. You need to do need

not only for kinetic typography, for motion, say, for

you think motion adds to typography?

to work from the concept to add something to the mix

graphic design movement. It feels better if it’s a cho-

is not making it for the sake of it you know. I know how

reography for me in general. I think it’s like in society

Borja: Yeah. Depends, you know, for me, there are

to animate. So, I have this here. You also have this case

if things move together. They work together. Yeah,

different approaches to this. The most obvious one

of people asking you to add Motion because they want

it’s very pleasant to watch. And you can also come

is attraction. It’s mostly only something that attracts

to attract the eyes first. For me, see, I always try to work

to the opposite. You can learn to doubt, and you can

attention that’s it. In a very fast paced world, every-

on top of the different tools of a graphic designer.

work with stuff that doesn’t go well together while

body’s gonna race. And even because of the size

they move, but that’s normally communication you

of this, you need to attract attention. So that’s one

Interviewer: So, how do you add meaning? Do you

don’t want that. It depends, choreography all the

thing, but for me, it’s not the main one for me is like

literally illustrate the word with motion? Or did you

times as I said, I made this for fun experiments when


you animate letter thinking on a particular character, public figures that it’s a super good exercise to make because with movement, you can portray these per-

9.2.10—Transcript from Interview with Steven Scott, Creative Partner at TwoFifths Design Ltd., 13 January 2021

sonalities and put into something larger or more acute.

so I am just about to put it on the site) Again we have created a kind of motion for that. The flow one that I have done, we had originally designed that as a piece of type. We could not get it working at all. It is really

Steven: I used to be the head of digital design at the

interesting when you look at it because when you see

Interviewer: My last question is when you do an

union advertising. I moved into digital because that’s

it without the animation in it, it is a really odd-looking

animation that goes with sound or music, what

the way everything is going. I started building web and

logo. But your eye obviously, because of the wave

comes first? And how do you make each other

worked my way through that.

running through it, your eye creates the turn of the

interact with it?

When I started in the agency It was to do graphic

f and creates and create the turn of the a and I think

design in brand identity. We have now moved more to

those are some kind of gifts. It says exactly what it is

Borja: It depends, you know, when I worked in Canal+.

web. We have been super busy because of everything

doing it relates to the subject. I don’t really think that

Sometimes it is because of the work flow, or of where

that is going on for online shop. It has been good.

deep into these that was just something that organ-

to work. I remember working again in Canal+, and

ically grew out of how could we do this? I originally

then I had this work flow that we define designers go

Interviewer: What do you think are the benefits of

had the word flow actually quite similar to what you

first. And then from the animation, the sound design-

motion of type in graphic design, and more espe-

have done with your logo CF (Steven looked at my

er work on top of that. Okay, but it was not like, it was

cially in branding? How would you decide to apply

portfolio website) What it was it had a wave going

just like, it wasn’t wait last. It’s not something that you

motion to the design and if not, why?

through it and it sat on a block. The wave kind of it almost distorted the word so it looked like the word

can because they, it’s like a factory. But you need to have these super good friends, great sound designer.

Steven: One of the ones you pointed out the Flow

was floating in the wave. We went through a lot of

Okay. When we work together, we try to be or work

philosophy identity that we have done I do a lot of

development and that was the simplest form we could

at the same time in a way. It’s like, yes. Or maybe it’s

AfterEffect work myself. Basically, I try to put anima-

find. It is probably one of my favourite logos, the way

like, but we need to have a briefing and everything.

tion on everything I do now. Especially whenever there

that we could mix all the media together. It works so

We know the scene where it’s going together because

is an identity that I design I will always cost and do a

well. If you try to force motion into something, that is

it’s kind of dialogue. Yeah, the sound designer and the

motion version of that identity. With the media that is

when becomes difficult as well. I guess it is interesting

motion designer. And at the end, there is sometimes

now available you have to have some kind of move-

because I do not think that deeply about animating.

sound designer works on top of the animation. Okay,

ment in your identity or something available to use

It is just something now that we tend to look at when

because it’s super important to synchronise. And other

if it requires it. I mean especially at this time as well;

we are doing it. If the logo itself does not want to be

times it is the other way around. You work on top of

we are working at the moment with National Trust of

animated we might do a simple, really simple thing to

the sound because of the beat. The timing aspects of

Scotland, so we just made an identity for Burns Night

it. It is a difficult one because I guess it’s almost like a

things. That’s the technical aspects. It’s how you solve

In. So, what they are going to do is they are going to

natural thing for us to do. There is a few we have done

things. First, the animation, some important things

have is live streaming form the Burns cottage in Alloa

that I guess are typography. Transforming change is a

that the Sound designer and motion designer, work

and again they are going to be using a lot of screens

company who came to us with the identity we did not

together understand what they’re doing. They’re in

and interaction through the virtual portal. You have

create it for them. They actually came to us for us to

the same boat. You know?

to have something animated otherwise it just looks

build their website. We really built their website. But

ridiculous when everything else being video and dig-

then just to add something nice to their identity we

ital to have a static logo. So, I think that’s why we now

just animated it in a way that they could animate it in

try to tend to put movement into everything we do.

or animate it out. Whenever they do a presentation to

There is always going to be a need for that type of

someone, they can click on the first slide and have the

media. (I have actually just finished the case study,

logo animated. That’s all. It is kind of basic level, that’s


kind of what we would do to a logo. We animate it in,

are thinking in that way, it only elevates the client as

charge what I want to charge for that logo. We have

and we animate it out. It does not relate to the fact that

well and their brand and how that works.

done alright for the rest of this job because there was

they are interior designer or that their name is bell and

I will go back and see other examples. The stuff we

a lot of motion work in it, things like that. But again, it

swift, it is just a simple animation to give motion into

have done for Red Bull, the escape room. We tend to,

was after we created this logo, we thought why don’t

their logo. And then we have other once Transform

the motion we do comes out of the fact that I want

we glitch it and make it. That was a free template from

and Change. These guys what they do is that they go

something nice for my website. This one here which is

AfterEffect and dropped the logo in it. We tend to just

into companies and they basically deal with mergers

the Future Business forum, these are the future heads

put motion into everything we do.

or if you company is going through a large change

guys that deal with big conferences and summit like

and needs to do redundancies, these guys come in to

that. I only created that logo but for myself I then

Interviewer: Do you think that kinetic typography

help you with that transformation change within your

myself they created a motion for them. And once I had

could be seen as choreography.

business. So, when we were creating this, the idea of

done it and that they have seen it on my site they are

this was that the logo was constantly changing and

now use they motion that I have done for my website

Steven: Yes, definitely, in fact any animation I approach

developing moving to the T and the C from trans-

as part of their logo as well. It is funny how things work

I almost see it as kind of form, A lot of the easing that

forming change and whenever it turns into it always

out. A lot of the times, they have not asked from me to

you do, it starts fast and then slows done, and those to

show the T and the C from Transforming Change. So,

do motion and they are not looking at doing anything

me are kind of human kinds of action. When I animate

the logo itself is constantly changing. That again we

in motion, but I do it for myself anyway because it is a

it, I always think of it as a stage. I always think of the

don’t do anything with the type itself it is more the ico-

nice thing to kind of have. The white hat logo, these

design as characters on the stage and the animation

nography of it. So yeah, that again as soon as I started

guys I work with the Edinburgh Escape room guys and

works in that way. When you start the PLAY (which is

thinking about that that. As soon as I created one of

they had originally a square space website. Now they

the play button as well) say it is a play on the stage and

these logos flat, I thought that would be really cool if

have 70 different franchise across the word. They have

your start that play running, […] If I have got an S on

we put down and we started moving the blocks that

a website of every one of them. Because we built the

the screen and I press button and the S appears on the

always create the T and the C. That kind of developed.

first one, we were recognised as a Squarespace expert

screen, I guess. I have never thought of it in that term

So, lot of them started as flat logos but then you can

and asked to build 30 of them and it just moved on

as you put it but yeah definitely, I would absolutely

see the potential in them moving forward. So, this is a

from there. We have now done a vast amount of sites

see kinetic typography this as choreography. You are

really nice little identity that worked well. And again, it

for other people. This one here was just a template that

choreographing that type, definitely. But it is interest-

works really nice flat as well. You know it is kind of flat

we downloaded from the internet and put their logo

ing you said that because when I am animating, that’s

form T and C. There document we created this kind of

into. There was nothing behind this at all. The whole

exactly how I tend to see things. There are characters

negative elements into it, so you still see the T and C in

idea of this was that they created a world champi-

in my score, those characters come into play.

the cover. So yeah, that again that was quite a nice one

onship escape room down in London and it was for

to work on. These are kind of clients that do not have

Red Bull. And because we were the design agency for

big budgets so, we always try and maximise what we

escape, we got involved in doing this. That was all a

could do for them. You are maybe talking an hour to

hacking operation that had gone wrong and that was

Steven: I would love to work with a proper sound engi-

spend on AfterEffect. It is not too much a cost to the

the idea behind this logo glitches and digital glitch.

neer to do this. We have done one where we created

client. But it really elevates the brand a little bit more.

Again in terms of the logo, the logo itself is 4 hats, but

a glitch effect for the tattoo logo company.

When someone is looking at that, they are looking at

it also looks like a mine. We did it in 5 minutes. I pulled

We use Garageband for the sound like that. We can

that now thinking, these guys they have not just have

out a white of the shuttle stock, turned it on its side,

do that It is very interesting to do that. The little bit of

a logo, they are really thinking about it, these are pro-

flipped it 4 time and he was just like that is perfect,

glitch trying to find the little sound that do that. We

fessional. Someone else with just a flat logo and one

let’s just go with that. That literally just took 5 minutes

worked with a sound designer, but it would be for

business card and that kind of things. So, I think if you

that logo, and it is a nightmare because I can’t then

a 90sec explaining animation. I have never thought

Interviewer: Do you work with sound? Music?


about using it on typographic animation. Sliding

cal decisions, placement, typography, colour, have a

it. He said, okay, you can extrapolate this theory to

sounds, There probably is, it could quite nice if you

profound influence in the connotation and annotation

others things like visual or musical or whatever, other

have something like that. When I associate sounds

aspects of the message. So by designing this stuff dif-

languages or other systems, but he uses it mostly in

with something. It is for longer animation rather than

ferently, you either emphasise the message, you send

a linguistic style. The funny thing is, although at the

such a short piece. Normally you see like an animated

stuff to the background, even just by creating a hierar-

first view, the semiotics the American system seems

logo, they might have a TV screen in their reception

chy on your page, you can change the message. So,

more practical, then it’s not very usable, because it

area, and it might just be their logo playing, a lot of

my idea is since we are so efficient designers in doing

doesn’t have the base that the linguistics have that

the time there is no sound associated with the logo

this with typography on a page, how would we do it

then you can apply to other things, if you want to go,

playing. But there is nothing saying that you could

with movement? So, for better efficiency of commu-

let’s say complex. So, I actually, to understand the

not do that. There is a place for sound design in ani-

nication, the designer must dominate his elements of

concepts Pierce was clear sometimes, but to actually

mated logo type.

the demography, the spacing, the colours, the fonts to

use evolved stuff, the best is Saussure, the French guy,

guarantee the efficiency of communication all about

okay? So, I’ve studied the semiotics and semiology

Interviewer: For the tattoo artist you created the

the methodology for motion graphics projects. So,

visual perception, which is very important if you must

sound to make it work with the logo animation?

our primary objective is to establish a method to be

understand how the brain sees movement. There’s a

used as a functional grammar which is something that

very good book, a very good article that I can send

Steven: Yes, we did that. But it can also be done the

exists. In theory, which means it’s a system that func-

you, which is about the neurology of kinetic art. Have

other way around.(…)

tions like a grammar, but it’s not a complete gram-

you seen that?

mar. So it’s not a grammatical system like the English

9.2.11—Transcript from discussion with João Aranda Brandão, PhD. Graphic Designer, Lisbon, 7 December 2020, 11 AM London time.

language or the French language, which is let’s say

Interviewer: I don’t think so. Actually, that sounds

closed circle, but the functional grammar is something

really good. I was looking into it, but I haven’t found

that uses aspects of the grammar of a grammatical

any precise article about this yet.

system to function. Okay? So specific for designers working on motion graphics projects. So this is my

João: It’s not very recent, but for understanding how

João: The idea is that we want to turn this into a meth-

idea. So here I present the results of my PhD research,

the brain processes movement, whether it’s actually

odology or a system for expression in motion typog-

while displaying methodology, theoretical contextu-

moving, or it’s something that represents movement,

raphy. So I have this presentation that I made for that

alization. So we read lots of books, and stuff. And the

this is pretty good. Okay, this is short, and you can

Congress where that paper you found was published.

idea is mostly I read about semiotics and semiology.

really quickly stop so it’s good. And then I started stud-

So my idea is to actually show you that presentation,

You know, there’s two theories of meaning. One is

ying animation and movement. And I started collect-

and so that you can see and understand a little bit

called semiotics developed by a guy called Pierce

ing all the kind I decided I was gonna collect all of the

more what I’ve done in the PhD. And then you can, you

in the United States, and another one called semiol-

movement variables in and it’s whether because the

know, maybe ask me questions and stuff. It’s called the

ogy, which is developed by a guy named Saussure in

variables let’s say, on the page, they’re kind of simple

human factors and ergonomics conference. So this is

France. You’ve heard of Saussure?

like x & y positioning, size, colour, fonts, and other

the idea that when the designer creates a project he understands the written text, not as is just the part of

things. Obviously, you can grow this a lot, but when Interviewer: Yes, I have. Yeah.

a message. So the thing is, when I design the book,

you start studying, so I decided to do a collection. I started studying relevant cases, state study cases like

and I’m trying to represent the book, or the title or the

João: Okay. So the funny thing is, Pierce will explain

opening credits for films and things like that, which

poster, the text there, I don’t ignore it, you can’t ignore

things clearer and in a certain more obvious ways for

are very interesting. And they have a lot of meaning.

the content, you must understand and work towards

a designer, visual designer, whether Saussure, most-

Okay, they represent like, it’s a horror movie, or it’s

this content towards this message. So, all the graphi-

ly apply this theory to linguistics. And he didn’t apply

something movie or it’s a romance and then I started,


okay, I need to understand first the variables and then

change across time. Okay, change across, you must

a stone. You can change the weight of that stone. So

I’ll do the other thing. So I started experimenting with

have time and composition. Without these, there’s

this would be a small pebble.

motion variables. And the thing I found is they’re kind

nothing, okay. And you need to change a variable,

of infinite. So you have like, just like action. Yeah. Okay,

or at least one of these three columns. So you can

but then it can be erratic. And it can be nervous, it can

change a spatial animation, which means this trans-

be shaky. It can be. So it’s not just x and y, it’s a lot

lation, it means translation of movement, like place-

João: Okay, so I, when I started analysing, and I’ve

more because the way you use it and the way it inter-

ments, rotation path scale. So either it was something

done like, I’m sure that 10 times more. And I said,

acts with time, it’s completely different. Okay? And for

goes on one side and goes to the other, something

movement can clarify the meaning of a word. This is

instance, rotation, you can have three axes. Okay? So

is on one angle and rotates to the other, something

very important. And this is very usable when you’re

with the same axis, I haven’t changed the axis yet, I’ve

is small and becomes big, something moves along

doing things. So you have a word that might have two

just changed the location that the axis is and I’m rotat-

a path or something. So unless there’s a change on

meanings, you can by adding movements. Without

ing it off. And then off of the axes. So this is just one

those things, you don’t have animation, but you cannot

changing the colour or the shape of the word, you

type of rotation applied to the axis now I’ve changed

have any of those changes. But you can have a square

can actually clarify the meaning of the word or move-

the axis. But I applied differently. And I just changed

turning into a round shape, or an eight or you need

ment can intensify aspects of the meaning of the word

the axis or I put the axis on the entire word or just

to be so there’s like, there’s no movement across the

moving. Movement can actually illustrate the meaning

one on each letter or something. So even just rotation

page or the screen, there’s no rotation, but the shape

of the word movement can contextualise the word

understanding of another that was multiple axis. Yeah.

itself can change, or you can have properties of the

defining its meaning, which means if you have a word

So just rotation is so complex, and it’s just one, let’s say

shape, which means the colour can change the back

out of context, you don’t understand the meaning. But

type of movement that decomposes in so many types

you can change the transparency can change, or other

then you add the movement as you would add, let’s

of movements. So I think, on one hand, the designer

kinds of shape filters. So I believe these are the three

say a phrase or something else. And it adds contents,

must understand this language, these elements. On

main things that you can change Okay, over time in

the movement can do the same. And movement also

the other hand, there’s just so many that so and then

the composition. So this basically, for me, simplifies

highlights a word in a given space. So if you have a lot

there’s given the camera, this is just a short version

everything. Yeah. Okay. So, and then I decided that

of text, and I’ve done tests with that, a lot of texts and

of what I presented in the PhD, I’ve put much more,

or I thought that this would be easy. And then I would

there’s one word moving. Everybody reads the word

but then you don’t have time to this presentation was

be changing semantics. And, and my like, hypothe-

that’s moving, and everybody else ignores everything

his 15 minutes presentation, I have everything else in

sis was this. If you have two different variables, you

else. So you have like, a phrase with five words. And

Portuguese. So it wouldn’t be that interesting. So you

have one meaning, but if you change the variables,

you have the last word moving. And you ask people,

can tilt the camera and the way things are perceived

you can change the meaning. And if you use different

did you see that thing I’ve projected? What was the

if you move the camera, completely different if you

variables combined in different ways, so, there you

first word? I don’t know, the first one. The last word

actually move the elements. And the thing is, although,

can even have a different meaning. So you have all of

was something but not the first one. So movement

the canvas is 2D our perception that there’s space,

these variables that are in this order. And if you change

highlights so it emphasises and it also helps me the

and there’s 3D, and you can even focus on something

them, you get me, okay, so I started to experiment

hierarchy. Okay. So I said, Okay, there’s hierarchy here.

else. So there’s so many variables. So infinite variables,

with meaning. You know, those very simple exercises

So let’s do hierarchy and hierarchy can change things.

and there’s also the typographic variables and stuff.

that you do in graphic design that you have You like

So I found also this, this phrase that I think it’s very

So there’s just so many things that you can do in rela-

a word? And you must represent the meaning of the

true that every designer has a visual hierarchy that is

tion to other stuff. So at the end of this, I decided we

word. Yeah. So I decided to start painting basically. So

implemented to guide viewers through the message,

needed a simpler way of looking at things. And this

I started the light. And I make things light. But then I

and help them understand what information is most

is my table. So this is kind of my simplification stuff,

said, but light has another meaning, right? So maybe

important, this dictates which elements of design will

which is to have animation movement, you must have

you can have you turn on the light. Or even you have

be emphasised, and we hope it will all be laid out. So

Interviewer: Yes, yes and this one is heavy.


I do a lot of books. As you can see, behind me, there’s

according to their movement. So basically, we’re just

danger. It's to do with our instinct, maybe of hunt-

many, many, many of these books are designed in my

changing the movement. But the reader spectator is

ing and finding food. And so it has to be like the first

company, and I’ve done them over and over. Last time

perceiving the words in different ways. According to

instinct is to perceive movement first. So it’s just so

I counted was like 75 books. And we’re always doing

their movement. The reader focuses and memoris-

powerful. Yeah. And you can find quotes for that. You

hierarchy, like even an index, you must do the hier-

es parts of a phrasing detriment of others, accord-

can Google Arnheim.

archy at page front page title, the cover of hierarchy.

ing to the moment, so they might remember a part

So okay, let’s do it with the text. And let’s see how it

and not remember the other. So about the Las Vegas

interferes with meaning. And it interferes a lot. Okay,

one. Maybe it’s something Oh, it was something about

so “woman... without her... man is a beast”. And then

being in Las Vegas. And the first one was like, Oh, he

João: Yeah. when you start the chapter on movement,

“woman without her man... is a beast”. So, because

was speaking, he was very important, because he

yes. Just says that. Yeah, okay. So, right there. Yeah.

I’ve changed the hierarchy and the rhythm. In one

was the speaker, you know, and it was the same sen-

So, out of all of this, I was kind of stuck in my PhD. I

video, I’m saying that man is a beast, and in the other

tence. And I’ve done tests with this very annoying, I

was understanding that it means all of these things.

video, I’m saying woman is a beast. But the phrase is

remember, I have this thing moving a lot. For me, I

Yeah. But as a designer, I couldn’t like to plan these

the same. So I’m basically changing punctuation by

was like, I had this test, it was a really, really long time.

things. I was basically using my instinct. So yes, okay.

changing the hierarchy and the rhythm of how things

And they had the wording read everything in white

Yeah. until I kind of crossed this knowledge with a

are shown. Yeah, this is the reverse. Because you’re

words in red and the word moving. But I said, what was

grammatical knowledge especially semiology from

showing the same sentence, but the public is reading

the word in red, and most people didn’t even notice.

so soon, okay. So, what he says that when you want

something else. Yes. And you can always say, Oh, it

And then I had this thing that said, If you can’t make it

to express or characterise things differently, you use

was written there. But that’s not what I have in mind.

good, make it big. If you can’t make it big, make it red.

what was called the figures of speech which you can

And this was like a Max, a, you know, a way of higher

which you can you can exaggerate something you can

pricing things in graphic design. Yeah. So different

do a paradox, you can do in writing you can objective

animations applied to the same phrase, can produce

right, which put lots of adjectives to make something

João: I’m speaking in Las Vegas, because I was in

readings, okay, which means different meanings. It

very, very, you know, so all of these figures of speech

Las Vegas. So this was very narcissistic, because I

actually, if people read things and understand things

or or how do you call your writing techniques?

was speaking in Las Vegas. Yeah. Okay. Or I could go

differently, it actually is meaning something different.

like I’m speaking in Las Vegas. So I’m not important,

So I understand that. Movement is super powerful, you

but Las Vegas is so we can just change the entire per-

know, it’s and the other thing I’ve reached, the con-

ception of people just by emphasising or, or doing a

clusion is that it’s more powerful than size, or shape,

João: You plan in your head, and you say, Okay, I want

hierarchy. And I made this very ‘kitsch’ because of Las

or, or a lot of things that we were using posters. So

to change this meaning this way. And in text, I would

Vegas. Yeah. I like the word ‘kitsch’. I know it’s French.

in a lot of ways your movement is more powerful, is

do it this way. I would add adjectives, but in movement,

more versatile, and it captures more attention. And

I can add, I can characterise the thing with movement

then obviously, it’s not here in this presentation. But

instead of so I can use the movement to do things

when you go and read about the theory, and the per-

instead of writing more stuff. Yes. Oh, so. Okay. That’s

João: Yeah. Yeah, it’s definitely something I liked when

ception of movement, we know that movement is the

enough. You see this, man, this guy’s mad. It’s like

George Bush said, Oh, the French don’t have it if they

highest stimulus, visual stimuli you can have. So if you

okay. That’s enough. So he’s punching the table, right?

don’t even have a word for entrepreneur. It’s like, okay,

compare the power of movement to colour or to other

Yeah. And then there’s that’s enough. I hope this will

it’s a French word. The English don’t have a word they

other elements, it’s been proven by other scientists in

go smoothly. Okay, this guy is very happy. It's a redun-

use the French. Okay? So the reader spectator per-

other ways that movement has more a bigger impact

dancy, you emphasise something that’s already there.

ceives words that make up a phrase in different ways,

in capturing your attention, because it’s to do with

Interviewer: yeah. Oh, super interesting.

Interviewer: Yeah, bizarrely it sounds English.


Interviewer: That's how I found you actually.

Interviewer: Yes.

Interviewer: Yes. Yeah.

João: The funny thing is, when these things are mov-

because it’s really worth it because of all of the illus-

ing, if you have just a word or a poster, usually you

trations and he’s gonna talk just about pure animation

João: But then, okay. Okay, so you can be sarcas-

have multiple interpretations of things. And with the

and how to work it out. I think the book is very easy

tic. Ironic. Yeah. So sarcasm and irony are figures of

movement, you can get a really easy consensus about

to read. There’s also videos you can find online these

speech, yes, that you can use writing or you can use

what is the message. So, do you know, a guy called

master classes. He has if you find the animation, he

with your voice, “I hope things go very smoothly”, you

Slavoj Zizek?

is his animation. What animation tool-kit is that what

know. And here, you can add, like, this is a paradox just because it’s funny sentences here, and it doesn’t

its name All right, okay. If you cry, Richard Williams, Interviewer: No, I don't?

because it’s round. And here, you can use zoomorph-

an emotion survivor, okay, that’s okay. I’ll screen and show it to you very quickly. Okay, share he has, yes.

ication, but probably this is not the characteristics of

João: So he is a director and the movie critic, he’s

Okay, this book, okay, animator survival kit. He has all

things. Or you can even use one of the payers,* which

very controversial. I’m pretty sure he’s from the Czech

these drawings, and all the understanding of how to

is representation of sound or of noise. Yes. So the idea

Republic. Okay. And he has all sorts of weird...Yeah...

place the key-frames and to develop the animation.

is you can plan to do these things, understand that

Let me send it in messages to you should chat with this

He has all of the very interesting stories that he tells

these elements, and there’s much more I had so much

guy. Okay, so he has a movie called The Perverts guide

because he’s worked with excellent animators. And

more. I had words that moved on to each other, so that

to cinema, you should you should find it because it’s

he has the animator survival kit guide here. So it’s this

the sounds would mix with another, which French has

usually easy to find on, you know, YouTubes or torrents

thing. And the funny thing is how he develops all of

a lot, because you connect words. And if you put two

or something. It’s a documentary, he starts by saying

these different characters. Some are, you know, exo-

different words, and you save them together, some-

that cinema is the most perverse art of all, because it

skeletons like these. So where is it like the watch, you

times it sounds like a third word, lots of jokes are based

doesn’t give you the liberty of interpreting it. He tells

should watch these videos, he has multiple lips. This

on that. So you can have all sorts of different styles

you exactly what to feel, at what moments so when

is very nice. Because it’s different. Okay, we’ll have

that you will find in writing. So this is my idea: that you

you see a movie, and it’s sad, everyone’s sad, when it’s

different so like, the legs have the skeleton, not the

first must understand the power and the expressive-

happy, everyone’s happy. You know, most movies are

ears. They’re soft. And women differently and he puts

ness of typography. Yeah. The movement applied to

not open to interpretation, to understand basics, you

like, everything that the cloth knows differently. And

backup my biography, then understand that you can

can get an interpretation on the story, but the motions

then they get bought the books differently. And he

completely change its meaning, even by the simple

that are being conveyed at every moment, yeah,

was the creator of a Jessica Rabbit. Character that

thing of changing the hierarchy. Okay, then you must

they’re very clear. And everybody gets them because

is super exaggerated, so he knows how to exagger-

understand rhythm and animation to do most of these

of all this. So he’s very interesting. You should see that

ate. Boobs move up and down as she walks. And the

things. But like, we can talk about that in a second. But

documentary The guy in his books are also quite inter-

blood, like from one side to the other. And it’s impos-

so with this, we can understand the semantic effect of

esting. He’s, he’s a weird guy. He was like defending

sible. It’s also very interesting when he has a dog. This

movement as applied to the digital typography. How to

Trump, and all of that recently, so It’s like, okay, I like

guy also functions very mechanically. Although there’s

manipulate and hear “manipulate” is the word it’s like

certain things, but not others. So I finished with this

somebody last and then there’s this one that doesn’t

perverse word manipulation. So you can manipulate

phrase, which is, from this book, it’s very interesting.

have a skeleton while the other one has. Yeah, and I

it to fulfil an objective and use motion graphics and

The trouble with words is that they don’t always say

like the dog because he says sometimes you have to

animation to communicate the message with better

what they mean, because you’re writing something

disengage that this is their spine so that they can do

efficiency than with another meeting.

and people aren’t understanding something else. And

certain things. So he tells all of his theory when you

this was my presentation. Okay. Super interest. Oh,

walk, watch these clips of the master-classes. They’re

yeah. So for animation, I would recommend you to see

all very good. They’re all very short, you should watch

the Richard Williams book on animation. You can find

them all. Okay? And obviously, there’s the DVDs that

the PDF online very easily, or you can buy the book

cost £760 I guess it’s the entire master class. I think

Interviewer: Yes.


if you want to become an animator is a really good

you’d read into three in two hours, you’d be finished

with communication and emotion, and yeah, it’s not

deal. But not for you. You can probably just read the

with the book. So this part is all just movement, how to

designed. So emotional design is just design or design

book and watch the other videos. (...)Alright. This is

draw all of these movements and the legs if you want

thinking is just the way designers do things.

some guy that he worked with and he’s all saying it’s

to make it elegant or not. So that the summit would

Well, I hope this has been more enlightening, because

about the time and spacing. And he starts explaining

be silly somehow but the butt inclines to make it look

I think it’s not easy to explain all of these things in

the time and spacing in exercises. You should open

natural, how you know all of these areas of the body

words. I think. And I hope this makes a little bit of dif-

Adobe After Effects or Apple Motion or some products

because or else you look, you know, a lot of anima-

ference. (…) So I think you should read, you can read

and actually manage to do the bouncing ball. So, mak-

tion computer animation, they look stiff and horrible

those two, chapters, chapter two, and three, if you

ing this actually, instead of being a fixed wall going

because they haven’t read this book. Okay? A bad ani-

want to French like, and you can look at the rest of

up and down, you need to go route within “Boing,

mators need to read this book so that things look nat-

the dissertation, or the thesis and see if there’s some-

Boing”. So actually, controlling these expressions on

ural. If you’re not animating humans, you don’t need

thing interesting for you. There’s chapter five. That’s

animation is key to get the other typography expres-

to see how the breasts go up and the blood go up and

the active research where I also talk about animation.

sions well, and then he can do it, you can do it with a

down the normal hair. The hair and the foot inclination

camera with a coin, this will be a very different result,

of the foot is very important. That goes up and down

Interviewer: Maybe like the language come out of

this will start slow, go very low again. And then he has

the air that moves up and out and forwards in. So all of

like, transforming the typography? The fact that

all of these. He was like, suggesting music while they

these—I like this one when the woman’s…they cross

you will change, like you talked about changing

were animating and the guy said, What is your main

their feet. So remember when they tend to walk in a

shape, I guess there is also all sorts of effects that

question? Because he needs to, he says he’s not smart

straight line. So normally, fashion models cross their

can be put on the notation of type design.

enough to think more than one thing at a time when

feet, as the strippers, as the ballerinas because it gives

he’s animated. Then he has all of these. So these are

an elegant look to the old ladies of it.

João: Yeah, maybe when you change the font, they change the meaning you can read that on the Erik

the key-frames so there, it’s slow here, fast here and slow there. So that would be a movement that slows

Interviewer: I find it quite interesting the possibili-

Spiekermann his book, ‘Stop stealing sheep’ and

on the ends. And it’s fast in the middle, a very simple

ty of comparing how you move type and how you

find out how type works. It’s a very small book, and

movement. But this is how, let’s say the animator...The

animate a body in a way. Like the fact that you were

it talks about expression and fonts and how differ-

master animator sends his stuff to the menial anima-

talking about choreography and I quite like that.

ent fonts convey different meanings. He also has like

tors doing the work on The Inbetweeners, so he does

faces showing different expressions and so that will

the main drawings. And he says that those will move

João: Okay, so. So if you’re going to talk about chore-

be a really an Erik Spiekermann is like a typographic

like this. So this is like an acceleration or deceleration.

ography, you have to say that movement has to have

God’s Yeah. He is. It has great fonts. So that would be

And the rhythm of the key-frames understanding this

meaning or else listening to the music and having a

a good book for that. It’s very short. You can read it

language is very important. And then the text is not

ballerina stopped on the stage would be the same as

also very quickly. And I’m sure you can find a PDF for

very big, and you read it very fast. And then after a

would mean the same as the ballerina moving. We

it. So if you want understand connotation denotation,

while, it gets very human. So it’s not very important

know that ballet and I really like ballet. I guess you

of form shapes, yeah, you start with that, and then you

to us. But still, it’s good to read. And then. And these

can see guitars together on one slide here. And so

can probably find more advanced stuff.

are also the tables animators use, which are interest-

my great grandfather was a very famous Portuguese

ing to know. And I think it is important to understand.

musician. So ballets are really all about meaning and

Interviewer: Yeah, that’s, that’s interesting to ask

And then after a while, the book just becomes a huge

feeling. And, and I hate the notions of design think-

you. I mean, what you’re talking about is very much

library of drawings on how to draw and stuff. So this

ing and of emotional design. Okay, these are stupid

what I was hoping to find in my research.

is like you don’t need to read this part now because

notions and words for design when there’s no think-

it’s how two legs move. So I think the important stuff

ing, it’s not designed when there’s no interference



TYPEFACES Segment by Krishna Kireeti, Typekiln foundry Movement' by Noel Pretorius & Maria Ramos, NM Type

PRINTED in March 2021 by Exacta Print, Glasgow, UK


Graphic Design Dissertation

Glasgow Clyde College 2020-21