Communication Design Mini, Fall 2020

For this project, we were tasked to complete a 60-second video displaying our typeface from the typesetting project. We used Adobe After Effects in order to animate graphics to sum up how the typeface came to be and what elements make it special.

I started by taking my finished typesetting project and coming up with a basic script based on the 50-word blurb. I started brainstorming about potential aesthetics by coming up with a mood board, based loosely on the aesthetic of my finished project 3. I really wanted this mood board to convey the general mood that I took from the adjectives that I’d come up with about the typeface Baskerville.

From there I moved onto my thumbnail sketches. I tried to go with the flow with these, brainstorming on the spot and doing what felt natural, to come with a plan that could easily be tweaked along the way.

I then started my search for music, in order to have a few songs picked out for Tuesday’s class. I was thinking I wanted something that felt classical but light, so that it still felt relevant and modern. I was inspired by the trailer for the 2020 film Emma, based on the Jane Austen novel set in the regency period in England. That time period occurred slightly after Baskerville was first released, but the English setting was appropriate as Baskerville is an English typeface. I remember enjoying the music featured in that film, composed by Isobel Waller-Bridge, so I explored some of the soundtrack and decided that the songs Harriet Smith and Mr. Elton Reveals the Portrait might be appropriate for the video. I continued to explore film soundtracks and I came across another favorite of mine, Fantastic Mr. Fox, which had a soundtrack with a similar mood. Two pieces, Jimmy Squirrel and Co. and Kristofferson’s Theme stood out to me, both composed by Alexandre Desplat.

In class, I met with Vicki who responded to the work I’d done so far.

  • It might be effective to leave some more mystery at the beginning — wait to reveal Baskerville & drum up some anticipation!
  • Keep the other projects in mind — what did you learn? How can you apply that here?
  • Maybe don’t use bursts — the visual language seems different from that of Baskerville
  • Be careful with the margins — remember grid structure!

I began to work on making my digital thumbnails with these ideas in mind. For Thursday, I moved my digital thumbnails into After Effects and started with my first short bit of animation.

On Thursday I met with Jaclyn who responded to the work that I had done so far.

  • It might be helpful to create a little test run with the thumbnails to plan out the timing of the video
  • It might be nice to add some texture, but definitely want to avoid to looking cheezy — will probably take some trial and error
  • Make sure there enough contrast to read the words!

I then started work on the rough draft due for Tuesday! I worked through the weekend in order to make the most of the time and to try and have a semi-finished piece for Monday.

During class on Tuesday, I planned to show my work to my assigned group in our small group critiques, but my playback wasn’t working properly and I had to schedule a different time in order to meet with Vicki one-on-one. I was able to schedule a meeting at 1:30 on Thursday, so not much time was lost. In that meeting, Vicki’s response was as follows:

  • There was too much time spent at the end, on the different weights of the typeface. Instead, I should fill this space with more information.
  • Black was used only once! It throws off the color scheme
  • During the part in which I identify the specific parts of Baskerville, the text is too small.
  • When I list all my adjectives, it might be a bit too fast.
  • Stacked type at the beginning has too many lines — might be better to limit that and play with those proportions a bit more

In between Tuesday and Thursday, I worked hard to address these concerns, and I added a segment at the end where the typefaces English roots are discussed.

My showing in Thursday’s class went well! Nevertheless, there was still a fair amount of critique to be considered before turning in the final.

Q:

  • Q liked the repetitive theme of the circles :)
  • The alignment of 1757 wasn’t quite right…
  • The flashing of the colors in the background was unnecessary and off-mood
  • Colors feel a bit depressed — increase the saturation of the olive color

Dylan:

  • @ 0:45 — type felt too tight
  • He liked the flashing colors, but agreed that the olive and the yellow look weird together

Vicki:

  • When “baskerville” lines up the kerning is off — an important thing to fix
  • It feels like a ballroom dance :) — goes very well with the music.

Andrew:

  • IN the stacked type section, ‘new” was alone
  • Music worked well!
  • At the English flag bit at the end, it might be nice to evolve it into the Union Jack, since it’s more recognizable

Keeping all this in mind, I worked on incorporating this feedback into my final.

Final Video!

In the end, I’m really happy with my animation! I had a lot of fun making it, and I think I learned a lot of new skills along the way. I find it quite likely that it’s something that I’ll do again in the future.