Co.Design

Are Animated Fonts The Future Of Type?

Type is no longer just for paper, leading to flexible possibilities in typeface design.

We’ve talked a lot about logos in the past, highlighting the fact that a logo can’t just be designed for print anymore, that it needs to work as well for an email footer as a TV commercial as an animated banner ad. So if we all expect logos to be multimedia savants, why aren’t we asking the same flexibility from our typefaces? Because when is the last time you printed something on paper?

Animography is a collection of animated typefaces curated by Jeroen Krielaars that can be licensed as you would any other. And while we all have our stereotypes of what animated text can be—local commercials of monster truck rallies come to mind—they’re a far cry from the hokey flaming letters of LiveType. Instead, Krielaars has constructed what might be called “classic” animated glyphs for words that could look as professional in print as they do in video.


They’re also a whole lot more flexible than existing Livefonts. While Apple’s solution is a collection of tweakable pre-rendered QuickTime files, Animography typfaces are deeply customizable After Effects files, meaning an editor can adjust line thickness, duration, easing, wiggle, color—and do so within one of the richest pieces of post-production software in the industry.

“I think this is very important,” Krielaars tells Co.Design. “There aren’t many animated typefaces to go around yet, and you don’t want to see the exact same title-animation more than once.”

It’s a dichotomous balance that’s still undefined in the industry: How do you create a marketable animated typeface that has a core identity without becoming too predictable for the masses? No one would question Charles Schwab and Merrill Lynch both using Times New Roman in a commercial, but if Charles Schwab’s Times New Roman flew on the screen in the exact same pattern it flew on the screen over at Merrill Lynch, suddenly it’d feel like the exact same ad.

“From my perspective, this is a really cool thing to work on or use, but I don’t think it will ever be standardized for each font,” Krielaars admits, adding that he’s really only selling Animography to a “relatively small group of motion/typography nerds.”

I’m not so sure that I completely agree with Krielaars that the industry won’t find accepted standards for animated fonts. But it does seem like part of that standard will involve a certain malleability. Just as we’ve long tweaked kerning and line thickness in print, the animated texts of tomorrow will have their own (new) language of conventional adjustments. And so long as there’s a proper flame height and explosion radius adjuster, that certainly works for me.

Download them here.

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12 Comments

  • Phunken

    "Because when is the last time you printed something on paper?"
    ummm like most day in the week.
    I see this as clip art.

  • Paul Bradish

    I think i'd be fine with it on creative site but If I were shopping online or reading a blog I don't know how appreciative I'd be of an animated font. While beautiful, it seems like it could become quickly overwhelming to the visitor.

  • francis xavier

    on trends...
    I also really dont think that first any trend, like this one could completely be the future of type itself. Its too generic a statement to say and too early too. All the about types are in a way adaptation of animation on type, and not type itself changing and evolving. 

    on type...
    The other problem is that, I am or felt a little old school as soon as I saw this. I love type. Love helvetica, flame, caliber, avenir and that happens not cause they are moving. There is a great joy in the way a type works on the negativity and the positive space to create symmetry that is completely lost while the form animates. Its irritating for me to look at that.

    I was just looking at the GE logo a moment ago and then I looked at this. It was a complete Bleh! moment for me. I love the GE logo and when I look at it, I constantly feel its got so much of movement, and not its is moving.

    For me, type to be really good, it requires movement in them. It doesn't require it to be moving.
     

  • francis xavier

    on trends...
    I also really dont think that first any trend, like this one could completely be the future of type itself. Its too generic a statement to say and too early too. All the about types are in a way adaptation of animation on type, and not type itself changing and evolving. 

    on type...
    The other problem is that, I am or felt a little old school as soon as I saw this. I love type. Love helvetica, flame, caliber, avenir and that happens not cause they are moving. There is a great joy in the way a type works on the negativity and the positive space to create symmetry that is completely lost while the form animates. Its irritating for me to look at that.

    I was just looking at the GE logo a moment ago and then I looked at this. It was a complete Bleh! moment for me. I love the GE logo and when I look at it, I constantly feel its got so much of movement, and not its is moving.

    For me, type to be really good, it requires movement in them. It doesn't require it to be moving.

  • ren_man

    Considering manual animation of fonts for movies and TV show titles is well established tradition, this merely speeds up the manual process.

    But as mentioned -- variety is the key.  Does this really provide the necessary variety?  Or will it like Comic Sans of old just be another quick to wear out its welcome diversion?  I vote: diversion.

  • Mark Coleran

    Having played with such devices over the years and developed a few variants as well, the criticisms and limitations are very valid.

    The interesting applications will occur when the bridges are broken down as to how fonts are defined and drawn instead of redrawn and pushed around using tools that although superbly capable, are as closed as the original typography we want to play with.

    Things like the experiments done by Yannick Mathey with Prototyp-0 that could be built on are perhaps more interesting avenues.

    I don't however wish to take anything away from what Jeroen has made here. Beautiful work.

  • Paul

    What about multicolor fonts for text editors? Instead of choose one color for the entire text, you could have the option to add layers of color to predetermined pieces of the text

  • williamrm

    It will definitely have its uses. I highly doubt that it is the future of type. Just a branch; an offshoot; another method for conveying an idea, utilizing type. 

  • Deb McAlister

    Please, no moving type!  There's more than enough motion on most web pages without animated fonts.  Call me a Luddite if you will, but this is quite simply technology for technology's sake, and I don't find that it adds anything functional or useful. 

  • Arman Nobari

    "...
    but if Charles Schwab’s Times New Roman flew on the screen in the exact same pattern it flew on the screen over at Merrill Lynch, suddenly it’d feel like the exact same ad."

    ^This.

  • Mark Rojas

    Its interesting but will it find much use. I wouldn't want to wait for a headline to load, just for a simple animation. I understand it as art. but function is another thing.