NOT WORKING: ON ANIMOGRAPHY
Why did you start Animography?
The first animated typeface I did was Moshun. It was just a personal experiment. Moshun succesfully combined typography and motion in a modular system. A good unison of things that excite me. Moshun got quite a lot of attention by the international press. A lot more than any other work I ever did. This was very stimulating, and I decided to explore this thing a bit more. Shortly after, I created Typogami and teamed up with Maria Jose Torerro Heredia to create Binary 2.0. After a while I noticed other people also getting into animated typefaces. To combine my and their work on a specialized platform was the next step. Animography was born. Having a dedicated place on the web for this kind of work also allowed my regular portfolio, calango.nl, not to be all about animated typefaces.
How does the project work?
I don’t see it as a project but as a collection of lots of projects. Every animated typeface or promotional video is a project on its own. The main goal is to make animated typefaces and build a steady collection with those. For this, I’m always working on it in between commercial projects. I also spend a lot of time inviting and helping others in their effort to create an animated typeface. Second to building the collection, I see it as an ongoing experiment to implement these in different kinds of animation. That’s why I started a new sub-project called Animography Monthly. Each month of this year a different motion designer is invited to work his/her magic with an animated typeface of their choice. The results so far are quite stunning. It’s very interesting to make something, and then hand it over for someone else who can use it in a way you’d have never thought of yourself.
What are the biggest challenges of animating a typeface so the individual letter animations work together?
For me personally, it’s a challenge to find the perfect balance in motion and type design. On one hand I strive for something that is uniform, elegant and smart. On the other hand, a minimal and systematic approach can result in something that is boring, and lacks character. It should stay interesting even after looking at it for a dozen times. To take this to the extreme, I started a large collaborative project last year. I took an existing typeface containing 110 glyphs, and invited an equal number of animators to each work just on one glyph. I gave them some basic rules, like a maximum of colors, timespan, etc. The end result was very exciting. 110 different styles combined to form one animated typeface. This can also be balanced in it’s own way.
How many animators have contributed to Animography?
Apart from the 110 animators that worked on Franchise Animated, we have 15 artists with their work already available, about 5 artists working on something right now, 3 artists who already did an issue of Animography Monthly and 9 more lined up for the rest of the year, 3 regular sound designers, a great developer and 3 guys from aescripts & plugins who’ve worked on the Characteristic script. It’s an ever-growing family.
What's next for the project?
There’s still a lot to do. We’ll be having a blog soon, to host all the Monthly’s and other implementations on. Lots of new animated typefaces and experiments. Also I would still like to have a good serif style animated typeface. If anyone is interested in making that, give me a shout. I would also like to get in contact with some editors to get a foothold in that scene. It’s pretty difficult for me reach beyond the tight knit community of motion designers who live on vimeo, twitter and dribbble. And maybe, a new collaborative project like Franchise somewhere down the road. Oh, and get the bespoke design service running. The plan from the beginning is to create custom animated typefaces for brands next to the ones that are available for everyone.