Short typographic films

tannerwoodford's picture

Hello! For my first post, I'd like to introduce you to the work of a group of designers I teach.

The first project this semester in Advanced Media, a course in the School of Design Innovation at Arizona State University, was to create a 30-60 second typographic film, with copyright-free audio, based on a quote received on the first day of class. The first half of the four-week project was spent collaborating with a group of 7-8 peers to make and refine typography-inspired concepts. After this process, the students chose the best of three concepts, then spent two weeks executing it as a group. A well-rounded concept was emphasized.

Following is the work that has been created thus far.

Lemon Press
Typographic Video
Akzidenz Don't Happen
If This Studio Could Talk

We look forward your feedback. It's an honor to be able to present our work-in-progress. Thanks!


Jared Benson's picture

I met Tanner while visiting Phoenix to show the Typophile Film Festival, and we talked about inviting his students to post their videos for critique. Please take a moment and check them out, and let's give them some feedback!

david h's picture

> The first project this semester...

first year? second?....

tannerwoodford's picture

> first year? second?....

Good question. The class is mostly fourth-year BSD students, with a few first- and second-year MSD students.

david h's picture

and this is the first time that you're working with After Effects/Final Cut, motion, film?

tannerwoodford's picture

There are various motion design projects throughout the third- and fourth-year in the undergraduate program. But, the most in-depth work is done in this class, and a class in the preceding semester.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

Oh dear. This may sound bad, but: it would be good to master one craft before trying another.
I'm sorry, but I went through all those films, and I honestly don't know how to compliment them…

Jennifer E. Dahl's picture

I only watched one film and didn't comment (following the "if you don't have anything nice to say" rule...which I'm clearly now breaking) but in response to Tomi...students need to experiment in/with various mediums in order to find their passion. Sure, it's not the best I've seen but there are a few of my own student projects I shake my head at today.

Corey Holms's picture

I have to agree with Jennifer - school is exactly the right time to be experimenting with techniques and mediums.

In regard to critiquing the work, I find it very difficult to comment on purely subjective terms. Your assignment [based on what I read] is to produce a piece of self expression by making a short movie based off of a quote. Based on that criteria, they've all succeeded.

To be brutally honest, I think you've been too precious with the brief. Two weeks to come up with a concept is luxury they will probably never experience again. I would have liked to see what they could have accomplished given less time and more to do. Maybe they would have been more experimental since they wouldn't be as concerned with absolutely nailing it. I have discovered that over the course of my career, a vast majority of my best work has been created 'under the gun'. When given the time and the numbers involved, you get a committee.

That would be my critique of the work, they feel born of a committee. I would have liked to see something where they tried something ambitious and failed, or succeeded spectacularly. Either way is correct for this point in their education.

JoergGustafs's picture

Yeah, two weeks for the concepts seem way too long.

1-2 days for a rough concept, with the students presenting their basic idea in rough sketches, maybe another 2 days to refine it. Then the rest of the time for execution. Maybe you could even cut down the whole thing to 3 weeks.
That would condense the work and I’m quite sure it would rather be a gain than a loss for the project.

Edit: Oh, and I don’t think that a student project has to be perfect in terms of concept or execution. It’s about the process of creating something in a predefined frame of time and context. This is so much more relevant than creating bling-bling award winning student films, entirely edited and dictated by professionals in order to make it look more professional, with the students putting their names on it in order to plug their school.

Tomi from Suomi's picture

I think this forum is not the right one to place work for critique with rule "if you have nothing nice to say".

I find Typophile useful and interesting, because critique here is both honest and informed. I've had my ass chewed here, but that has been for a reason. This community is about typography and type design, and most of us are professionals in those fields. It is not fair to put student work for critique here.

Jennifer E. Dahl's picture

Perhaps I need to clarify...I didn't post anything because (like you) I couldn't think of ANYTHING positive to say. But I think we should be welcoming to students.

Students should consider themselves lucky to be critiqued by award winning professionals in the fields they wish to compete in. It's completely fair to critique student work. As the professionals I think we should encourage exploration.

Perhaps I misunderstood your statement but it appeared as though you suggested they shouldn't explore a medium they hadn't mastered and that seems to go against the spirit of learning that is encouraged here.

grace289's picture


First of all, thank you for taking the time to watch our videos; I very much appreciate it! I am Angie Copolillo of the "Typographic Video" team. I'm excited to have our work here, and excited for the opportunity to learn and grow as a designer.

I've been following this thread closely, and I wonder if the problem is that we won't be welcome to any criticism. I know that, at least for me, this isn't the case. You've said that you have a hard time finding things to compliment...well, that's all right. We're not looking for pats on the back. :-)

Can you tell us what might need to be improved? Essays aren't required, of course, but simply saying, "It ALL needs work" isn't quite helpful, even if it's how you feel.

It might be good to pick one thing you saw and give us tips on how to improve it. As you can probably tell, I know that I am still VERY MUCH a beginner to Flash, AfterEffects, and editing in general! So even the most basic of suggestions would be perfect.

Thank you again for your time! It's great to have you as a resource. :-)

Angie Copolillo
Graphic Design Senior
Arizona State University School of Design Innovation
Herberger College for Design and the Arts

Corey Holms's picture


I'm really glad you stepped up and introduced yourself, especially after not receiving the warmest of welcomes. Had you not been so gracious in your introduction I wouldn't have been compelled to respond. I have critiqued your video in its thread, hopefully there's something of use in my musings.

grace289's picture

Hi Corey,

Thank you!! I'll take a look now. :-)


designpuck's picture

I'll just say the best quotation is Carl Sagan's —but it's the toughest one as well, because no video could compete with the linked one below (at least in using the "If you want to make an apple pie, first you have to invent the universe" quote):

(Personally, I think they should invent a new grammy category just for digital flange voice-tuner scientist-pop remixes).

As for the videos, I'm seeing a lot of fun experimentation but in most cases not seeing a strong vision at the level of concept, in fusing verbal meanings the quotes bring forth with the visual concept / scenario / narrative / sensibility —the ol' verbal-visual links that can really get the viewer to someplace new that neither alone can do...

Ton Aner's picture

„…not seeing a strong vision at the level of concept, in fusing verbal meanings the quotes bring forth with the visual concept / scenario / narrative / sensibility —the ol' verbal-visual links that can really get the viewer to someplace new that neither alone can do“ …
Would you mind giving us an ’ol’’ exegegies of this esoteric piece of ’critique’ you made us so glad/intriguied by?

designpuck's picture

I'll try to make it simple Ton,

What I was trying to get across with my murky sentence was basically this: The verbal meanings of the quotations didn't seem to relate heavily to the visual choices made in some of the videos, and nor did the stories / scenarios / narrative arcs.

This is not a problem for a piece of art (where folks often won't even agree on criteria for evaluation). I think it can be a problem for design, however.

Design (in the sense of visual communications) is judged on how well the designer's choices reenforce the communicative intent (the core thing the design is trying to get across). Choices in, for example, typography, color, scale, repetition, space, sequence, tempo, rhythm, transition, speed, duration, sound, et cetera, all build toward a coherent vision, or they don't. They all work together to establish a certain sensibility / tone / mood / aura, or they don't. (I keep thinking of great film title designs and how they communicate a concept, or a tone that introduces and reenforces the theme of a film—The dizzy twists of "Vertigo," or the slow, foreboding typographic architecture of "Panic Room" for example). I'll say it again, though: The videos look like fun, experimental student work.

Erin Kwiatkowski's picture

Hello to everyone,

We are young designers, very well still learning, and helpful feedback allows us to grow.

On the comments that 'two weeks may seem a long time for concept development', in actuality it is only 4 classes (we meet twice a week). Our class consists of a very diverse group of designers, so when asked to have 8 designers agree on one idea, it was a bit challenging for us. Each member came up with multiple concepts. After that, the group members combined multiple ideas or voted on which concept to move forward with.

As I have seen some comments stating 'you can not comment on these videos', is neither helpful nor justified. We are open and welcome to hear the positive/negative comments, yet criticism should entail explanations so we can understand that point-of-view. We are honored to have criticism by professionals in the design field. Yet, I think a true professional would give constructive criticism with justification, especially to students who are trying to learn.

Thank you to those who have taken the time out of their day to give our video's constructive criticism, it will help us in the editing process.


Bennie.W's picture

Some great videos. I especially like "Akzidenz Don't Happen". That must have taken lots of work- something we can all learn from! The gambling at this online casino is simply the best and I hope to be back soon to casino online gamble a bit more and try to win the highest slot machine payout.

Chris Dean's picture

Props to Lemon Press for the hanging “

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