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Project. Kinetic Typography

Purpose: To understand and appreciate the implications of using time as a fundamental design element. As in film and live performance, the use of time allows the graphic designer to show the reader/viewer/audience precisely what s/he wishes when s/he wishes. Kinetic typography is fundamentally different from static typography on a page, and those differences are explored with this project.

Assignment: Find a piece of text that is a monologue. It can be prose or poetry, stage or screenplay, but preferably something that offers a range of emotions. Visually represent your selected text by expressing the content with typographic elements sequenced over a span of time. Carefully consider the variables listed below, as well as the relationship of the spoken word to the visible and dynamic word. No representational images; however, color, light, and texture are permissible.

Consider your variables:
typeface, typesize, weight, color, texture, focus, orientation, location;
entrance, performance, exit;
sequence, speed, pacing, transition, transformation, time;
tone of voice, emotion, feeling, atmosphere, interpretation.

Read your text out loud several times to hear how it sounds.
Parse and make notations of the sequence and the rhythm of sounds and pauses.
Visualize the sequence of sounds and pauses, and explore various ways to visualize what you hear.
Allow your solution to emerge from your explorations.
Be bold. Be brave. Be sensitive.

Format: A digital piece produced in Adobe AfterEffects, Flash, or Director and no larger than 600 x 800 pixels.

Time: Three weeks on average.

preview image

Dan Boyarski teaches courses in typography, interactive information design, and interaction design at Carnegie Mellon School of Design. He has long been interested in how word, image, sound, and motion can be combined for effective and compelling communication. He grew up watching movies and pouring over magazine pages with strong typographic layouts. Boyarski earned an MFA from Indiana University in 1973, then later studied graphic design and film animation at the Kunstgewerbeschule Basel, Switzerland. He has been at Carnegie Mellon for 22 years, where he is Professor and Head of the School of Design.

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