Back in the days when I spent most of my time on art, I particularly loved using text to combine the two things I loved most. The possibilities for text in art have long been explored by artists across all different styles and media, whether it’s as simple a relationship as illustration and story, or using the visual characteristics of the text to create images, or creating artist books, etc.
Sometimes the text is readable, sometimes obscured; sometimes it’s making a statement and sometimes it’s completely meaningless. Whether it’s playing on the visual appearance of the writing or the meaning conveyed by the words themselves, text and typography can be a really powerful way to add depth and intrigue to a piece of visual art.
Even though I sadly very rarely draw anymore, I still love seeing what other (real) artists are doing with text to play with these possibilities. And now there is a form of art called kinetic typography emerging- where video art uses moving text to emphasise, distort or embellish on the visual and audio effects.
This is a really great example of how digital media, rather than destroying the written language, can in fact open up all its possibilities and use it in new and innovative ways. And as an art form, I think it’s a very interesting way of combining so many different sensory elements, and has the potential to create a really powerful effect.
This short video by Vancouver Film School students Marcos Ceravoio and Ryan Uhrich gives a gorgeous visual explanation of the basics of typography, and is a beautiful example of how kinetic text can be used to add new layers to what is being said:
In another example, Jeff Smith-Luedke brings his poem ‘Minimalism’ to life with clever use of black and white kinetic typography. His use of scale, movement and typeface choices make what might otherwise be a good but fairly unremarkable poem witty and engaging:
And this video takes an old joke and gives it an extra layer that enhances the humour in a new way:
In terms of creation, I think these pieces look deceptively simple- when you start to think about it, a lot of work has gone into them. I think maybe that’s what makes them so enjoyable to watch: they are humble, and don’t seem like they’re trying too hard to impress us, but we can still appreciate the effort and mastery behind them.
Or at least, I think they’re pretty cool. What do YOU think?