Project 4: Time & Motion
Design a 60-second video that highlights the unique characteristics and personality of your typeface in the context of its use and in relation to its larger type family, if that exists.Here is your opportunity to take advantage
of sequence and motion in visually describing and comparing the various forms and attributes of your typeface.
To begin the process of planning my animation, I took a look at my 50-word summary from project 3. I found it to be a good starting point for my video script, but I wanted to add more descriptive words and focus a little less on the history. The script is still a work in progress, however, and I believe it will continue to shift and change as I progress through the project.
As a graphic designer
Hannes van Döhren discovered
His passion for type
And starts HVD Fonts
Made in 2010
Inspired by sans serif typefaces of the 20’s
But with a contemporary twist
Friendly, simple, and concise
Perfect for any display
Built for legibility
As I began to look for music, I reflected on my spread from the previous project as well as my three adjectives — simple, friendly, and concise — and used them to inform what I was looking for in terms of a song. The yellow and pink hues pointed in a light, cheerful direction, and the curves/rounded corners told me that I should look for tunes that had the same “round” quality. One challenge I ran into right away was that I wanted some rhythm or buildup in the song, but I also wanted minimal amounts of “sharp” sounds, like drums or snares. Since Brandon Grotesque is a modern font, I was also looking to use music from the same era, perhaps something slightly electronic.
I was at first just going through my playlists song by song, occasionally looking for the instrumentals of certain songs I thought would have potential. My first strong contender:
Although it sounded friendly and functional enough, I still wasn’t sure if I could relate it to the visual style I had in mind.
A peer then recommended Louie Zong, an artist on Spotify who creates minute-long beats and melodies. As soon as I heard this song (linked below), I was sold. The melody is simple, bouncy, and light, yet still maintaining a grounded rhythm. It also features a solid buildup with bold, swooping moments that would go well with my narrative.
Having chosen a song, I moved on to considering the plot of my animation. I struggled with where to start, so I made a few notes to get ideas flowing and map out a very basic structure. By going back to my spread and looking at the circular shapes, I got the idea of starting with a moving circle or bouncing ball to lead into my text. After hand drawing a general framework, I decided to move into Figma to make digital thumbnails, as I felt I could work more efficiently and generate ideas faster on a digital medium.
One of the biggest struggles I faced in this portion was not having a clear vision of what exactly I wanted to make. It became difficult to plan out key frames in the storyboard without knowing how exactly I would get there or what transitions I could use. Mentally, I found myself constantly getting bogged down in details like what time certain frames would come in and whether it would fit with the music.
After plotting out some general thumbnails, I realized I actually still had other characteristics about Brandon that I wanted to give time to in the animation, as they were significant features unique to Brandon:
- Low x-height
- Geometric foundation
- Humanistic curves
- Music fits and works well with the narrative/adjectives
- It’s good that most of the text starts on about the same baseline, increases readability — and Brandon is all about readability
- Start off simple, with no background elements (yet)
I started by attempting to animate the bouncing ball at the beginning, which took much longer than expected at first; however, I found youtube tutorials to be very valuable. Although I didn’t have a super clear Idea of what the transitions would look like, I took it one step at a time and did what I felt made sense for each second. This process consisted of a ton of troubleshooting in efforts to make the movements match the music.
My animation so far:
Regarding the ball bouncing at the beginning, which needs some tweaking to look more realistic:
- It should only be squished once it hits the ground
- It shouldn’t bounce out of frame once it’s in frame
- Make sure it’s hitting on beat
- Since it’s really hard to pull off, maybe try something else?
- Most of the text seems to fall on the same baseline; maybe make it part of the composition?
- Try exploring different type effects in AE
- Would be helpful to map out scenes with timing
At this point in the project, my biggest challenge is the transitions. I feel that I know what information needs to be displayed, but I’m not quite sure how to get there yet. I don’t want to overuse the same type of swipe transition, but it’s a little difficult to envision different possibilities when I am not sure what’s feasible or possible in AE.
After tweaking the ball animation at the beginning, I kept working toward getting the animation to the full time limit, sometimes adjusting the script where I felt that different words would work better than what I’d originally planned. Whenever I felt like I needed more direction or inspiration, I went back to my Figma Board to plot thumbnails or even simply move text around. It was also helpful to keep my typeface spread (from the previous project) on the board to refer back to and keep track of my direction.
- The section that says “HvD Fonts” puts more emphasis on it than necessary, and it’s still not super clear that HvD are Döhren’s initials
- The ball bouncing could still use some tweaking
- Where the rounded corners & slanted stroke caps are mentioned, the “n” could be scaled down for more clarity/pacing can be improved
To address the “HvD Fonts” section, I changed the wording a bit to first introduce HvD Fonts as a type foundry, then display how the name is based on Döhren’s initials, making better use of the time given to that section. I also scaled down the “n” in the middle section and added a circle to better guide the audience’s attention given the fast-paced nature of that scene. Lastly, I made minor tweaks and adjustments to the text motion and transitions in some scenes, for a bit of extra flair and playfulness.
My general workflow during this project consisted of me only having a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish, and then taking things one step at a time and doing what made the most sense given the information I was trying to convey. However, I feel that in the futureI would benefit from giving myself a more structured plan & clearer sequencing, for the sake of efficiency and organization.
From this project I also learned the importance of nuances in motion, such as in the case of making a ball bounce look realistic or having objects move in a way that’s playful vs. straightforward. I also gained a lot of inspiration and skill simply from watching others’ videos both during the process and during the final showcase.