We have funny biases when it comes to visual expression. Text is — content. It’s the information. It’s not a graphic. Graphics are something else. (At least, such is the perspective of those of us speaking Western languages, constructed from phonetic symbols and not pictographic or ideographic symbols.)
But that makes the use of text as graphic all the more refreshing. Matthew Buchanan has assembled a huge group of videos on Vimeo using type in creative ways:
It’s a deep source of inspiration, even as it sometimes reveals regular cliches in how to think of text in new ways. Some of these are limited by our own alphabet – so the occasional examples in other alphabets get a lot more interesting. But this is what massive online availability can do, too: it’s like being in a 24/7 design slam with the entire human race. You’d better find a way to get original and not just look like you’re ripping off someone else’s stuff or doing more of the same. And when it happens, it’s all the cooler.
I’m especially fond of the video at top, in that the text and symbols get placed in motion in a meaningful way. And, being American, I don’t normally get excited about
I also love the percussive effect of the video below. And our friend Momo is in there Beeple-ing with Century Gothic.
But where’s the Japanese? Thai? Arabic? Our alphabet, love it as I do, is probably the least interesting to use graphically. I know we have readers in these countries, so if you’ve got something, do send it our way. We’re totally jealous of your awesome languages.
Group admin Matthew Buchanan has some interesting work of his own dealing with motion and text. For the Web design nerds out there, he’s got a timelapse series that shows CSS falling into place. The visuals are the perfect complement to me reading this article:
Watching it fall into place is oddly motivational. I wouldn’t necessarily VJ with this clip — well, maybe at a design conference? Now, how about animating all those changes live on the page?