Kinetic typography is the art of animating text to increase its impact on readers by increasing the emotive and interactive quality of the text. Text is presented over time, becoming temporal rather than static. Even if you’re not familiar with the term, chances are that you’ve seen it in action.
Like other human relationships, successful communication between writer and reader depends on timing and mutual understanding. The ability to communicate emotion greatly contributes to achieving that understanding.
Presenting text over time gives it some of the emotionally expressive qualities of film. For example, text can be changed in size to indicate greater importance, color to attract attention to details, or position to indicate an item’s place within a hierarchy of information. Psychological research has shown that the increase in attention to text presented over time in this way can positively affect overall reading performance.
The role of emotion in successful communication cannot be underestimated. That’s the reason that such a wide variety of “emoticons” have been created for use in conjunction with texts and instant messaging. Similarly, some other ways that emotion can be expressed through text is by the use of pacing to express a greater or lesser degree of urgency, or bolding to convey tone.
There are two categories of kinetic typography, motion and fluid, and classification depends on the behavior of the text. In motion typography, elements move in relation to one another, while in fluid typography, the letterforms themselves change even while remaining stationary.
The precursor of the modern version was more static and relied on sequential cinematic transitions. The first two films to utilize the newer methods were “North by Northwest” in 1959 and “Psycho” in 1960. Since then, it has been used extensively in films, television and advertising.
There are tools, applications and programs designed specifically for creating movement within text, but the majority of them require prior user knowledge and experience. Others can be utilized by inexperienced users for creating special effects on websites and blogs, but they aren’t ideal for instantaneous communication like instant messaging.
Recognizing the importance of emotional content in successfully conveying intended meaning, researchers are conducting studies with the goal of creating an instant messaging system capable of utilizing these capabilities. Their research includes conducting experimental surveys to determine what emotional effects are produced by certain types of images and movements how those emotions affect mood and energy. The results of this research will enable software designers to develop tools and applications that will provide users a richer and more meaningful online communication experience.
The popularity of the continually expanding number of emoticons available for use in texting and instant messaging is a sign of the importance we place on communicating emotions as well as ideas. Very soon, we may be able to successfully communicate, with text, the sensation of jumping for joy.