All That Jazz

A few weeks ago, a very talented designer, Michael Croxton, contacted me with a request. He wanted to use the scans of wood type letters that I’ve been posting for a project he was working on at the School of Visual Arts. I had the pleasure of working with Michael a couple of years ago when a typography class he was taking as an undergraduate design student at The University of Utah visited the Book Arts Studio for a typographic broadside project. A semester later, I taught a publication design class at The U and had the good fortune of working with him again.

Last night, Michael emailed me a link to the video he made with scans of my wood type. It’s fantastic and I asked his permission to share it here. I suggest turning up the volume and viewing full-screen!

Countdown – John Coltrane from Michael Croxton on Vimeo.

Here are details of the project in Michael’s own words:

The entire video was created in Adobe After Effects. It was a project for Gail Anderson’s Just Type class. I worked with several limitations:

  1. Black and white
  2. Use only typography
  3. Use only the characters 1–8 (for the drums)
    and the letters A–G (for the Saxaphone)
    and the letter I (for the piano)

I tried to create the video the way jazz is played – have a set of rules and then improvise and go crazy within them. And just when you think you’ve seen or heard everything, surprise you with something new. Everything was composed in After Effects as I animated the video, in a very off-the-cuff manner.

Becuase I had never used After Effects before, I had no preconceived notions about what I could or could not do. And that really opened me up to trying different things. I think the type you provided totally made the video. It has such a nice human quality to it, that you can really imagine a person playing the music. All in all it took about 80 hours of work, including research and time building moldboards.

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