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.


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.