Kinetic Type lets you to have your way with words. You can mix ’em, mash ’em, move ’em around. Are a thousand words worth a picture? Y-E-S… with kinetic type.

What are we talking about? Kinetic type animates words so you see what you say. In the right creative hands, it’s a great way to present ideas – as words become their own images. It’s a lot trickier than it looks, though – along with a good sense of visual design, you need flow, rhythm, balance and the good sense to know when enough is enough.


Poster with font treatment by Nicki Sabogal

I’ve found a few excellent examples of Kinetic Type animation I’d like to share with you. The pieces are short, fun and offer a new way of “seeing” meaning – as the conceptual becomes visual.

First up, what better place to start than with the alphabet? This one’s by Alessandro Novelli, founder and director of design studio N9ve with offices in Italy and Spain.

It’s an homage to type fonts and the root of all words – The Alphabet 

The Alphabet from n9ve on Vimeo.

As I mentioned, timing is a big challenge for these pieces – how long should each moment rest on the screen before it transforms into something else? For me, I’d build The Alphabet images to last a wee bit longer so you can savor the different font styles. In any event, it gives you a sense of the possibilities…

So now that we’ve mastered the alphabet, let’s explore a phrase and see what we can do with it. Here’s a short conceptual piece by designers Sebas & Clim.  If you like this video definitely check out the work on their website – they’re a young, creative duo and have cool pieces on their site, including a funny “about us” video.

The piece below, Make It Better, takes Kinetic Type animation a step further – and gives you something to think about in the process. This was their first effort as a partnership.

Make it better from Sebastianbap on Vimeo.

I like everything about this piece. I like the way the images flow one to the other, timing is good, the sound design is whimsically right on, working perfectly with the images… and I like the way the piece builds to the end. They’re quite a creative team.

Can you use this approach to create a sense of story – or at least construct a conceptual ambience? This next piece is more complex with a mashup of voice, words and imagery. It takes us deeper, with an homage to Hunter S. Thompson and a meditation on testing the limits. Scandinavian designer Piotr Kabat calls it The Edge.

the EDGE from Piotr Kabat on Vimeo.

I like Piotr Kabat’s animation style for The Edge. The black and white visuals have an abstract quality seemingly without boundaries. The piece propels you –  like a poem marking a potent journey – right to the edge. You can feel the wind rushing by… Piotr’s kinetic images shunt you past Hunter Thompson’s macho musings.

Even more sophisticated is Israeli design student Shimi Cohen‘s little gem he calls the Innovation of Loneliness. It may be a student project, but what it has to say is very thought provoking.

The Innovation of Loneliness from Shimi Cohen on Vimeo.

The Innovation of Loneliness is a clever piece of work. The track could have been better – it sounds like Shimi was his own narrator. Again, the pace was a little too fast – you want to savor the ideas and they pelt you with their urgency. Still, what he has to say is provocative, makes you think and is well conceived. As the piece speeds along it clearly has a beginning, middle and end. The logic flows seamlessly and the visuals support it well. We don’t often see words on the screen, but when we do, they hold a certain power.  In that way, Shimi’s mastered the art of less is more.

Finally, a bit of inspiration for us all – a reputed classic from To-Fu Motion Graphics Studio – 29 Ways To Stay Creative.


So, what do you think? Is this medium a cool way of expressing oneself? Are we going to see more of it? Or will it fade away in the shadow of the next new-best-thing? What are your thoughts? Let me know.