Aside from the hard and fast advertising World, motion graphics is an efficient means to inform and infer meaning for short ‘visual essays’ and documentary film. Over the years, the means to convey a more weighty subject with political punch has found a mode of animation that draws its visual language directly from graphic design. These visual signs, symbols and icons inform a more poignant narrative, often with voice-over, pushing forward a particular point of view on a specific subject. Motion graphics’ elasticity means that it is not entirely limited to an exclusively animated work. It can equally be used as part of a video sequence, helping to inform a particular point, issue or piece of information. This can best be seen in perhaps more documentary type work like in Jes Benstock’s Holocaust Tourist or Richard Fenwick’s VCR where the graphical side serves as a visual mode in the narrative and indeed, to take a quote from Richard Fenwick, “..an idea is best served by the way you make it.” Communicating that idea using graphics is therefore a practical as well as a powerful means.

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© Richard Fenwick. VCR

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© Jes Benstock. Holocaust Tourist

Simon Robson’s ‘What Barry Says’ has often been quoted as a catalyst for a new line of motion graphics with ‘The Master Plan’ by Ozan Halici & Jürgen Mayer., Fenwick’s ‘What We’ve Found Out About Stem Cells’ and ‘Terra 2050’ taking the example forward. However, this is not an entirely new form of motion graphics and there are a number of much older works that can be found. For example Ward Kimbal’s ‘Escalation’, in which a simple animated character serves as a humourous build up to a graphic explosion of video excerpts or Chuck Jones’ ‘The Dot and The Line’ which is a brilliant example of the graphical form and style reflecting the narrative. Both of which were produced in the sixties.

Beyond political banter though, what is interesting about this type of motion graphics is its ability to efficiently organize information within a coherent and narrative context. Cultural icons, such as those found on signs for example, mix with information graphics, typography and limitless graphical Worlds both imaginary or real, all slickly composed in movement. The camera becomes our guide in a graphical World set to refer our senses and intellect to a particular point. The reading of information is therefore dynamic and set in pace with a particular line of thought.

A Selection Old & New :

What We’ve Found Out About Stem Cells. Richard Fenwick 2006

Forgetfulness. Julian Grey 2005

What Barry Says. Simon Robson 2004

Terra 2050 – Technology. Shroomstudio 2004

Escalation. Ward Kimbal 1968

The Critic. Mel Brooks 1963

The Dot and The Line. Chuck Jones 1965

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