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Type Motion Exhibition | FACT | Smiling Wolf

Overview

Type Motion is a programme showcasing the best examples of moving typography in art and popular culture from 1897 to the present day. Held at FACT (Foundation for Art and Creative Technology) from 13 November 2014 to 8 February 2015, the programme combines an immersive exhibition with a series of film screenings, panel discussions and workshops. It is the first time the exhibition will be held in the UK, after a successful stint at ZKM Centre for Art and Media Karlsruhe.

Smiling Wolf’s remit was to create an engaging exhibition identity and visual toolkit to appeal to type aficionados as well as FACT’s core audience. The identity needed to have animated elements for online and installation usage too.

Having worked with FACT since 2000 and overseeing a rebrand of the organisation in 2011, the Smiling Wolf team were very familiar with the visual language and in particular, the gorgeous Nebuau Grotesk typeface designed by Stefan Gandl at Neubau Berlin.

Initial explorations involved depicting simple movements in a word marque. Deconstructing letterforms — working in black and white — created some very graphic outputs, which, whilst appealing, didn’t quite communicate the energy of the exhibition. As colour was added however, the characters came to life. Paring back the approach to working with single glyphs emphasis shifted to distorting and warping them further, establishing a number of treatments before arriving at two palettes: ‘movements’ and ‘colour’. It was then a case of combining each glyph with the right techniques and colours to achieve a bold visual language applicable to everything from invites to tote bags.

CG specialists Sparkle created animated promos and idents for the exhibition. The one-line brief to Sparkle was to make the letterforms dance; Smiling Wolf wanted that sense of perpetual motion. The idents are triggered by movement and played back on the TILO system, an innovative platform providing digital media experiences.

Twenty six letters were printed digitally onto a variety of GF Smith Colourplan papers then black folied for a range of invites and posters.

The final part of the scheme proved the most hair raising to produce – a large-scale suspended acrylic ‘A’ forming a stunning sculptural focal point in the FACT atrium. (see installation film).

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Thanks to Simon | Michael | Smiling Wolf

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