Slithering, spinning and finely textured, the moving typography of Lausanne-based Kenny Brandenberger interlocks with machinic precision. The multidisciplinary designer, whose recent clients include Dropbox and Asics, was initially intimidated by the techniques needed to do motion design. “I have been giving up on After Effects and Cinema4D for years. It took a lot of time and practice to pass through this steep learning curve and start using and loving those softwares,” Kenny tells It’s Nice That. Now, he seems like he’s in his element.
“Graphic design to me is the most powerful tool to express ideas and feelings. In a few seconds, people get the idea. I have always been fascinated by how fast people tend to empathise with a visual,” he says. After graduating with a graphic design degree in 2014, he took a while to settle into motion design, having stints doing UX design, advertising, art direction and branding before settling into his niche. Switching to a digital agency doing UI, prototyping and design workshops, Kenny started using animation to prototype designs, initially using simple techniques on simple posters. “I discovered a passion for moving things,” he says.
“I have always been fascinated by typographic Swiss posters of the 60s and 70s. Some of them look like they were designed for motion, but they just didn’t have the tools to make them move,” Kenny says about his inspiration, referring to the International Typographic Style that emphasises clarity for international communication, which is still embraced by the design community today. “I wanted to reproduce this same bold style and add a 21st century layer: motion.”
The result is a series of work that blends the dynamic possibilities of motion design and still pays tribute to the rules of graphic design. Part of what Kenny is so good at is finding the rhythm to the motion, the pulse that keeps you watching seemingly simple loops over and over again. In a way, it’s not motion graphic for motion graphic’s sake and it’s apparent that Kenny approaches his work with a sense of respect for his influences in “trying to find this perfect spot between 3D and graphic design.”
This is reflected in the rules Kenny sets for himself when making these works. “I have a few rules of my own to follow when I design a motion piece: it has to be fun to watch, bold, seamless and it has to work in static,” he says. “This might be the reason why I spend too much time figuring out the details,” Kenny jokes.
Often working closely with his friend Anthony Velen who previously built an alphabet from drone shots of Swiss architecture, Kenny tells us about one of their collaborations for Dropbox’s Flow Like campaign. “This was very challenging for us as it was not type animation that we’re used to, but representing this ‘flow’ in moving illustrations,” Kenny explains. They decided to play with clever movements from simple techniques, looking to create something complex enough to be satisfying to watch in the large outdoor screens that the animations are destined for. “Some of these screens were so big, they would be skyscrapers in Switzerland,” Kenny says. Kenny’s skill for turning simple techniques into eye-catching and satisfying motion is something to be admired – we could easily watch the letters shrink and grow all day.
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