Kinetic typography used to present The Girl Effect
Presenting Malcolm Gladwell

Kinetic typography: more examples

Type As a follow-up to yesterday's post on kinetic typography, I would like to point you to several more examples. First, a clarification: my purpose in bringing up the topic of kinetic typography is not to suggest that you too should incorporate text elements in your live presentations in the same way that you see featured in the examples below and in the previous The Girl Effect example. Using apps like PowerPoint or Keynote alone would make such a task impossible anyway (though many tasteful, useful effects are possible with slideware alone, and not only by using animation effects). My real aim in highlighting kinetic typography here is simply to remind you (and myself) again that type matters and that the treatment of type requires careful thought. Though you would not likely use kinetic type to the degree used in these examples in a live talk, watching the treatment of type in these examples may give you some ideas for working with type on screen that evokes emotion or directs the eye in a certain direction, or that sets a mood, etc. The only real goal is to get us thinking about presenting differently. In the past — such as in this post on Helvetica — I have touched on the issue of typography. Before looking at more examples of kinetic typography in presentation, take a look at this presentation on typography (which uses kinetic type).

On typography

What is kinetic type?
Some smart designers at the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University have been exploring kinetic type for over ten years (more info here). In a paper called The Kinetic Typography Engine: An Extensible System for Animating Expressive Text (by Johnny C. Lee, Jodi Forlizzi, and Scott E. Hudson), the authors have this to say about kinetic typography:

"Kinetic typography can be seen as a vehicle for adding some of the properties of film to that of text. For example, kinetic typography can be effective in conveying a speaker’s tone of voice, qualities of character, and affective (emotional) qualities of text.... It may also allow for a different kind of engagement with the viewer than static text, and in some cases, may explicitly direct or manipulate the attention of the viewer."

Kinetic typography – "text that moves or otherwise changes over time" — is a rather new field (though typography is certainly not new) and evidence as to which techniques work best and in what situations is something that is still being explored. It is believed that the first use of kinetic type on a screen was in the Hitchcock film North by Northwest; Saul Bass designed the opening credit sequence. Watch the opening below. The credits do not just convey information but also express emotion and set the mood for the film.

Opening title sequence from North by Northwest

Opening title sequence from It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World
This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The playful type treatment below set the perfect mood for a very funny film. (1963, a few years after North by Northwest.)

Kinetic typography is used extensively in commercial advertising, but its applications do not need to be limited to presentations that sell soap and automobiles (as The Girl Effect demonstrated).
Here are some more examples to get you thinking. (Be warned: many contain adult language.)

The Devil's Advocate
Kinetic type set to an Al Pacino rant (Adult language).

Oceans Eleven
This one below is a bit different. Not every word is represented. The type is designed to show emphasis or match intonation, etc.

Pulp Fiction scene: "Marcellus Wallace
I pointed to this one well over a year ago, but I still think it is effective. Notice how the type is so large that it often bleeds off the edge; I like this effect. Watch it below. You may be interested in how differently the dialog hits you when you watch the actual film clip from the movie. (Adult language.)

Duck and Cover (old public service announcement from the '50s)
Very nice indeed. Watch it.

Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?"

I love this one. The only little mistake (which the designer recognizes) is the use of the "dumb" apostrophes a few times (the humanity!). But I love this routine (classic) and the type treatment.

If you vote, Starbucks buys your coffee
Wow, this one is quite similar to The Girl Effect. Watch it.

Another Starbucks message (RED)
Simple and short. Watch it.

Controversial Motrin moms commercial

The type is interesting, but for a lot of people that was not the issue. Watch it.

Music video:Yo No Se Que Hacer Conmigo
Looks pretty fantástico to me. Watch it.

Update: Alternative Rugby Commentary
Quite a few people suggested I checkout Alternative Rugby Commentary for interesting examples of combining text and other visual elements to quick-pitch narratives. Here's one below: The Ten Commandments. Brilliant. (Adult language; it's Rugby after all).

H/T: 15 stunning motion typography videos


John Bristowe

I recommend checking out Fraser Davidson's work on the Alternative Rugby Commentary:

Great stuff! Awesome experience!


How about the You Don't Know Jack trivia game?

Jan Schultink



Though I've seen it before, I was just introduced to the phrase "Kinetic Typography" today, and now I find it on your blog.

Powerful stuff.
Thanks for writing.


I really like this music video playing with kinetic typography. A really powerfull visualisation: French Rap Crew Hocus Pocus & The Procussions - Hip Hop?:

The comments to this entry are closed.