The Dinglehopper

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“Word Crimes” and Kinetic Typography

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Weird Al’s got a new album out – and it’s #1 on iTunes. A master of the online world (he defines memes, y’all), he clearly knows how to market an album. This time around he’s releasing a video a day. Monday’s was the parody of Pharrell’s “Happy” called “Tacky.” It’s brilliant in its own right.

But on Tuesday he gifted to the world “Word Crimes,” a grammarian’s revision of “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (and thus saving the catchy tune from misogynist hell). The song itself is clever and speaks to my high school English teacher’s very soul; however, what caused me to swoon over the video was the use of kinetic typography.

Kinetic typography is a type of animation using moving text to express the meaning of lyrics, prose, or speech. Font, size, shape, and motion are key.

As a font nut, I love kinetic typography, and I wanted to share some of my favorite examples, of which “Word Crimes” is now one.

Jonathan Coulton eviscerates the suburban middle-class life with his catchy and comedic “Shop Vac.” Jarrett Heather is the animator here – and, oh hey, he also did the animation for “Word Crimes.” (I thought it looked familiar!) “Shop Vac” is ground zero for my teenage girl crush on kinetic typography. The use of brand fonts to emphasize the role of capitalism in the failed American dream is brilliant.

Kinetic typography is perfect for any film speech of significance. Take this example by Cory Allison from David Fincher’s Fight Club, wherein Tyler Durden explains the post-modern masculine condition. Moment of brilliance: the visual pin drops when Tyler elicits silence from the men gathered to fight.

Now that I’ve got you interested, check out Thibault de Fournas’s “From Paper to Screen.” This kinetic typography video is not only beautiful and brilliantly designed, it’s actually a treatise on typography’s transformation from paper to screen. I especially loved the tribute to Saul Bass’s influence on opening credits.

And finally, Evan Seitz’s “Alphagames” which advances into more complex animations to show the A to Z of video games. Can you name them all? And if you’re more of a cinephile, see Seitz’s “ABCinema” below.



Author: Erin Perry

I'm a high school English teacher specializing in AP Literature and Film Analysis. I'm interested in most things geeky, including superheroes, vampires, zombies, teen culture, postmodern philosophy, pop culture analysis, and combinations of the aforementioned. Follow me on Twitter @eriuperry.

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