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The History of Motion Graphics Is Longer Than You Think [Video]

Motion + Design is a nonprofit project that wants to celebrate the art history of animated graphics.

The History of Motion Graphics Is Longer Than You Think [Video]

What is motion design? That’s the question posed by an intriguing short film by Motion + Design, a nonprofit organization that wants to open a museum of animated graphic design in Paris. A mini-Louvre dedicated to the art history of network idents and feature film credits sequences? You may scoff, but watch the film first–you may learn something.

For instance, the history of motion graphics goes back waaaaay further than Adobe AfterEffects. According to Motion + Design, motion graphics are, well, any kind of graphics that move–which means that the prehistory of the art form goes all the back to that of cinema itself. The film splits hairs a bit when making its distinction between motion design and animation–apparently, if “animated characters express themselves directly” in a story, it’s animation, and otherwise, it’s motion graphics–but the connections it draws between the work of midcentury film artists like Norman McLaren and Saul Bass and the quivering contemporary creations of Kyle Cooper and Imaginary Forces are actually quite illuminating.

In fact, as cinema, interactive design, and digital effects become more and more intertwined, motion graphics are arguably becoming the 21st century’s dominant visual art form. Make sure you stick around for the credits, where the film lists all the motion designers by name so you can search them on YouTube for yourself. At least, until Motion + Design gets its museum off the ground.

[Read more about Motion + Design]

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.