Fluid Characters in Temporal Typography

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As a hybrid of typography and digital animation, kinetic typography has arisen from two distinct histories. Studies of typography take for granted the fixed identity of the printed sign, whereas digital animation frequently features kineticism leading to transformation. It is perhaps for this reason that studies of kinetic typography do not offer adequate exploration of typographic forms that transform and change identity. Though texts on temporal typography offer thorough analysis of temporal typography that moves or is serially presented over time, these studies do not allow for examples such as MPC’s Channel 4 logos, in which pictorial objects transform into a numerical character, or the typographic animation of Komninos Zervos and Dan Waber, in which forms morph between alternative typographic poles. This article will propose that, in order to address the current lack of understanding of transforming type, it is necessary to look beyond the fields of digital animation and typography, to the holographic poetry of Eduardo Kac. Kac identifies, in his holopoetry, forms that escape “constancy of meaning” as they appear to transform between linguistic and pictorial poles. Kac’s terminology may be applied in the examination of “fluid” forms in temporal typography, leading to an understanding of the ways in which transformative behaviours differ from simple motion or elasticity.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012


  • Fluid
  • Asemisis
  • Temporal typography
  • Kinetic typography
  • Eduardo Kac
  • Typographic Animation


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