For the sake of our collective sanity, work needs to occasionally be fun. Too much seriousness isn’t good for anyone. Apart from surgeons and EU negotiators, obviously. Parisian information agency Datagif values fun projects as a way of staying explorative and innovative while working on more commercial activity.
The company’s co-founder and creative director Florent Guerlain tells It’s Nice That, “Since we founded the agency almost ten years ago, we’ve made projects not just for clients, but just for fun. It could be a very small project built in one day or bigger projects like books or websites that we could spend several weeks or months on.” These side projects offer the chance to “let loose, it’s just a way to have fun and nothing else!”
Recently, Datagif has created a website called Bingo Type, which showcases free typefaces animated in the style of French television shows. The idea came from a discussion at the office during lunch. “Someone had the strange idea of taking a game show audio and mixing it with typography,” Florent explains. “The idea, as silly as it was, was not too complicated to create, so why deprive ourselves?” Ideas for fun projects can come from anyone in the office. The creatives work on these side projects alongside their client work, maintaining a healthy studio dynamic of work and play simultaneously.
“As soon as the idea emerged, we began to work,” says Florent. Once the team agreed that “the idea seemed funny” and that they’d be happy to share it with the general public, there was “no need to reflect any further”. It also helped that the creatives in the studio have all the necessary skills to quickly develop the motion graphics for such a page. “It’s not very complicated,” says Florent, referring to the technical side of the project. “And at the same time, it’s a way to pay tribute to those who work and distribute free typographic characters. It’s a way of saying thank you to them.”
Florent and his team started by researching French TV game shows (old and new) on Youtube. They selected the credits they found most interesting and paired the kitsch style of motion with typefaces they’d always liked, but hadn’t found the right context to use them yet. “It was an opportunity to use them for the first time,” explains Florent. After creating all the videos, they then built the website, which is “deliberately raw and simple”. He goes on to say: “The goal is to easily switch from one video to another just by scrolling. From the start, we wanted to use different typefaces and type foundries because our ultimate goal is to be able to discover typography from different horizons.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.