On the Internet, nothing says I love you like an unsolicited, unpaid passion project. Consider the scores of meticulously conceived and choreographed supercuts and mashups made by obsessives who somehow found the time. Or the Arrested Development fans who re-edited the entirety of season four so it runs chronologically. Or the Harlem Shake reimagined in a grid of perfect dots.
Now, Paris- and Bordeaux-based Nomoon have made their creative donation to the Internet with Vespalogy, a cute, quickie animation that shows how Vespas have developed over the past half-century. Undeniably on trend, they chose the iconic Italian scooters for an endearing reason: “Because we love them.”
The creative agency tries to regularly get innovative outside the confines of client commissions. Previous unpaid efforts of Nomoon have included annual holiday greetings, a strange bank robbery tale told in collage to the beat of LL Cool J, and a claymation-style stop-motion. Fostering this kind of freedom benefits team morale, sure, but it also helps to build out The Lab, as they call it—a unique tab on their professional portfolio that lets them blow off steam and show off their talents. “Clients often ask for stuff they’ve seen somewhere on the Internet and don’t even know what we can offer them in terms of creativity and originality,” the studio’s Camille Ouanounou tells Co.Design.
It took two months of after-hours and spare-time noodling to pull the minute-and-a-half clip together, and the process began with a bit of fortuitous—and irresistibly straightforward—research. On the official Vespa site (which itself has since been revamped), Nomoon found a “hidden timeline” of every single model from 1943 to 2010. “We grabbed the names, Googled the images, and made ourselves a little collection sorted by date,” Ouanounou says. From there, they narrowed down their favorites and began to illustrate.
Each transition is marked by a smooth flip-flopping of parts, as the models morph into one another. “Even if a Vespa is pure sheet metal, chrome, and cables, our goal was to make something organic,” says Ouanounou. “That the scooter transforms itself into the next without leaving the screen is a genuine expression of evolution.” Some most intriguing standouts include 1951’s rocket-looking mobile, what appears to be heavy artillery in 1956, and the crazy helicopter contraption in 1967. But it’s actually remarkable how, for the most part, the form remains recognizable throughout its history.
Longtime Nomoon collaborator and sonic maestro Mathieu Lalande, of Paris-based Supercarburant, composed several potential soundtracks for the scooter story. “We told him that it would be nice to express the spirit of the decades,” Ouanounou explains. Together they synced sound and animation to capture the spirit of 60 years of the jaunty ride, and the result is—well, it’s a good time. Not as good as feeling the wind in your hair riding one of those shiny thangs around Rome, but enjoyable nonetheless. “We love to make nice things without taking ourselves too seriously,” she says. “It’s good to have fun.”