Typeface Studies

Tasked with creating a sixty second animation showcasing an assigned typeface, I created this video on Adobe Aftereffects. I was assigned the typeface Vista Sans, a fairly new and funky typeface to work with. Inspired by the nature of the typeface, I used sketching, story-boarding and inspiration to lead me to a video that uses blinking, clapping, and a pop of color to excite and inform the audience. Through this project I not only learned how to use Adobe Aftereffects, but I also have become more conscious of how text, especially in a video setting, is only as successful as the animation and timing used to communicate it. Text, though it is a hugely important mode of communication, can also be a hindering block to communication if the designer does not pay close attention to the small visual details. Throughout this project I worked to find the balance between exciting the audience with pops and blinking, while also maintaining a readable and enjoyable pacing.

The Process

I began with first getting acquainted with the typeface, Vista Sans. What makes Vista Sans distinct from other sans serif typefaces? In what context has Vista Sans been previously used? What personality does this typeface take on? All these questions guided me towards a better understanding of how to go about personifying this typeface in a reasonably short animation. A paper and pencil storyboard was my next step. I brainstormed different movements that personified Vista Sans and could be worked into an animation; words like pop, slide, blink, jump, enlarge, and disappear. I then moved onto a script and digital storyboard using Adobe Illustrator. Moving onto working with the actual animation tool, Adobe Aftereffects, I began experimenting with different movements and transitions, especially focusing on the treatment of text and how it moves on and off of the screen. Finally, the background audio was also very important to the development of the video as the pacing and flow of the video depended largely on the tune and beat of the song.


Creating this short, information-packed video taught me how to engage an audience while also being sensitive to pacing and format. As I experimented with different motions and transitions, I also had to be conscious of being consistent. It was a balancing act that taught me the importance of digital communication, but also the dangers of “over doing it.” While it is important to have a wide breadth of exploration, there is a point in every design project to set limits and begin refining.

Design Approach