Animations which illustrate educational or sensitive content have a very difficult balance to achieve. Not only is the creative process often very complicated, but the animator at hand has to find a way to represent the narrative with a certain tone, while not ambitiously overpowering it with personal flair. A TedEd animation by Bristol-based studio Uncle Ginger particularly made us realise this, with its subtle but to the point short answering the question: What is Bipolar Disorder?
Made of circular and square shapes that form illustrations representative of feelings and statistics, the informative film utilises a pastel coloured background that evokes calm in the viewer. Its use of shapes is also hypnotic, matching the words at hand in pace and meaning.
Influenced by “1960s and 70s medical journals and book covers, the beautiful designs of Bruno Munari and the films of Oskar Fischinger,” the animators use tried and tested ways of graphically representing important, and often difficult information to their advantage. “The process of creating the film, along with the music and sound, taught us a lot about how effective the movement and interaction between simple shapes, colour and sound can be, particularly when explaining subject matter which is both poignant and complex,” Hugh and Owen from Uncle Ginger tell It’s Nice That.
“When working with an existing script, we feel it’s important to create a visual world which complements and is sympathetic to the subject, rather than creating a literal translation of it,” says Uncle Ginger. “In the case of our film What is Bipolar Disorder? we wanted to find a way to aid the script in simply and sensitively communicating the disorder to people with no knowledge of it, without oversimplifying or belittling the huge effect it has on so many people on a daily basis.”
Uncle Ginger is the partnership of pals Hugh and Owen who have spent the last few years working individually as illustrators, designers and composers before joining forces in 2015. “Since meeting at university around seven years ago, we’ve collaborated on a range of projects, and have discovered huge similarities in how the two of approach our work,” they explain. “We’re passionate about working on projects that we care about, and have been really fortunate in working on commissions which lend themselves well to our sensibility and subtle, less direct approach to animation.”
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.