Innovate your type design and attract even more viewers
Dots and lines are squirming over the place before they become a beautifully crafted ‘H’, followed by a creatively animated ‘e’. The animations continue until the dots and lines have spelled out the word you intended to write. Welcome to the world of Mobilo Animated, a collaborative animated typeface.
Type design is a very systematic process by nature. If you look at the ‘b’, you will know what the ‘d, p and q’ are going to look like. Although a certain system and cohesion is important for the design of a typeface, a similar approach for animation can become rather dull at times. A animated word or sentence can become a drag if you just have to wait until the animation is finished. Jeroen Krielaars, motion director and designer at Calango and Animography, saw the opportunity to mix things up by introducing an element of randomness to the process. The result: Mobilo Animated. He spoke with us about his project and the work that it entails. When working with Mobilo Animated, a letter starts with a seemingly random animation that ultimately results in the letter you want.
Setting up the project
In order to realize a design that addresses both a systematic design and randomness, Krielaars invited one type designer and 236 animators to work on the project. Each one of them was assigned one character to animate in their own signature style. They were restricted to using a maximum of four colors and 25 frames, within a composition of 500 by 600 pixels. The letters were animated using Adobe After Effects. Because of these restrictions, the different letters look like part of a family even though the animators could animate their appointed letter in their own creative way. That certain animators share the same thoughts, without consulting with each other, worked great as well. For instance; although the designers of both quatotion marks did not collaborate, they both designed their quotation marks with bees flying around.
One of the most important things when running a project like this is staying organized. Throughout the entire process you need to know which animator is working on which character and how their development is going. That means you have to document every process and know what each animator is up to. Also, even though you give your coworkers three months to develop their asset, keep in mind that you will receive the majority (about 90 per cent) in the last week of the project. And then you will have your work cut out for you. In the end, you’ll have to filter out a lot of bugs and check if everyone followed the restrictions to assure a great end product.
The end result in this case is a beautiful animated typeface that attracts the attention of the viewer. Animated typefaces are a new playing field and Jeroen notices a keen interest for it. Although animated typefaces are unknown to the majority, it could be an up and coming area of design. Jeroen has already been called by international design press and has recently seen animated typefaces pop up in media posts by Adobe and in idents on broadcasting channels like TLC and Comedy Central. The animated typefaces have a lot of uses; from marketing to corporate identity.
Jeroen published the animated typeface for the price of a social post. It was made in collaboration with the animation community, and therefore it should flow back into it, he says. He considers this as an experiment and he strongly believes it’s a way to strengthen the bonds with the community. Mobilo Animated is available on animography.net in the form of an Adobe After Effects file.