Tapping into Text A investigation of typography

My Gabe Newell portrait in words. I chose to use Gabe as the base for my portrait because he has become somewhat of a running joke with my multimedia presentations.


Typography is the art of and technique of arranging type, type design and modifying type of legibility and aesthetic appeal. In short, it means how letters and words are arranged in order to appeal to people.

Typography is used frequently in web design and music video creation as it is an effective way to communicate ideas with a visual appeal.

Typeface is the ‘attributes’ of a letter, whether being bold, italic or normal. All of this can add emphasis to certain letters or words.The two main types of text are serif and san-serif.

Some other terms are used in typography, these include (but are not limited to)

Kerning: Adjusting the distance between specific letters

Leading: Adjusting the space between lines

Tracking: Adjusting the general space between letters

This image showcases different parts of a letter, the parts listed here are the Meanline, Baseline, Serif, Bowl, Leg, Ascender, Counter, X-Height, Cap Height and more.

Legibility is how readable the text is, mainly due to how fast people can read it. It is one of the most important factors when deciding on a font. It is important to pick the correct font and colour or else trying to convey a certain message will be much harder as people won’t be able to read it in the first place.

Picking a correct font and colour is also important to establish an appropriate mood for typography. Different colours can invoke certain emotions, examples of this include red being aggressive, blue being calming and green being envious. Different font can also show a certain meaning to a word or words.

Alignment refers to where text is located on the screen. The four types are center, justified, flush left and flush right. Paragraphing also comes into this as breaking up text is very important when dealing with large amounts of text.

Various other techniques can be applied to typography, such as vertical text. This shouldn’t be used too often as it can become very confusing to viewers.

The Hierarchy of text can be described as being able to show word progressively becoming more attention-grabbing as more effects are applied to them. As with vertical text, these should be used sparingly.

Typography is being used today to make portraits, which allow people to express messages clearer through facial pictures.

Kinetic typography refers to animated text that is usually used in tandem with music to create a music video. The animations used on the text can also give a certain message.

Anamorphic typography describes the relationship between text and architecture. Anamorphic typography is somewhat related to optical illusions, as many examples of anamorphic typography can only be viewed at a certain angle to get the best experience.

My font experiments
Basic Typography practise and experimentation
Short brainstorm of artists and songs that could be compatible for my project

Statement of Intent

Kinetic typography is the animation of words to convey a message; it is also about using other elements to make the text appealing to the eye. Much of the power that comes from kinetic typography comes from the song choice, a good song is the backbone of any successful music video, whether typography or not. With this in mind, I had to choose a song that had power and many interpretative lyrics for me to manipulate.

I decided to choose Simple Life by Fox Stevenson, my reasoning behind this is because I personally enjoy the song and so I will have more motivation to work on it, this is quite useful in designing motion graphics as much of it has to do with motivation to actually work. The lyrics are interpretive and so even more opportunities for unique graphics are created.

The target demographic of my typography is between 14-18 years of age as the song seems more geared towards people of that age group, being mainly focused around fighting against the flow and trying to be pragmatic.

The main theme for this project was the idea of simplicity, simple colors, simple song, simple editing. I chose to do this because I want my project to be different in the fact that it doesn’t make use of incredibly difficult graphics but instead just focuses on the words and their meaning. Obviously some will be colored but that’s only to make the video more visually appealing from the black and white that the majority of the video will be created in.

My symbolism examples and brief analysis
My documentation of the After Effects work space, which I didn't make much use of during the creation of my typography
My development of Ideas page

My finished typography, I tried to keep my video as simplistic as possible to fit with the theme of the song, such as keeping the majority of the text black/white. I chose to use colors in certain areas because it made the video more enjoyable to watch.

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