A retrospective of typography in film from the
early days of the cinema to the present
“Moving Types” – letters in motion – has been a prevalent stylistic element for typography on television, cinema and computer screens since moving pictures were invented just over a century ago. Broadcaster logos like those of ZDF and RTL as well as innumerable opening and closing credits including those for “From Morning to Midnight” (1920), “Dr. No” (1962) and “The Green Hornet” (2011) rely on animated typography with two- or three-dimensional design effects. Commercials and music videos also make use of animated letters. But even though this stylistic device is very common, it receives little attention and is usually taken completely for granted. Few people know that “Moving Types” is a long-established media art form practiced by numerous international artists and designers.
The exhibition “Moving Types – Letters in Motion” has been put together by the Zentrum Zeitbasierter Gestaltung (Center for Time-based Design) in collaboration with professors Ralf Dringenberg (Schwäbisch Gmünd) and Anja Stöffler (Mainz) at the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz and shines a long-overdue spotlight on the genre and its practitioners. Extensive scientific research is revealed here for the first time, and the typography itself is the star of the show, which displays more than 200 international examples of animated typography, illuminating numerous design concepts. These range from the mystically blurry typography in “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” from 1920 to the letters that fall from the sky and blow in the wind in the children’s classic “Winnie the Pooh” (1977), as well as the three-dimensional, “set-in-stone” acting credits in the 2002 drama “Panic Room.” Morphing logos of well known TV broadcasters are on display, along with fascinating and artistic typographical messages that artist Jenny Holzer projected onto buildings and other urban landscapes around the globe. The exhibition also includes present-day visions such as the “Internet of Objects.”