Founded by type artist and designer Dani Molyneux, Dotto is a creative studio that aims to bring about change through "words, purposeful play and typography for thought". This manifesto usually manifests itself via unmissable murals and art prints, which combine letterforms, symbols and colours to dramatic effect. But the studio has taken things one step further for its latest collaboration with Buff Motion.
Revisiting a previously made set of type prints, Dotto has collaborated with Buff Motion to create a kinetic typography loop series called Type That Moves. As its name suggests, this project features letters that reinforce their message via movement, causing viewers to stop and reflect on what they are saying.
The two creative forces behind the project were already fans of each other from afar. Still, it was Buff Motion's Creative Director Tom Allen, who originally reached out to suggest the collaboration. With Buff's reputation for playful type animation, and Dotto's well-known knack for creating eye-catching type with a purpose at its core, the two were a dream team waiting to be unleashed.
"I discovered Dotto a while ago and absolutely loved how dynamic their print work felt," Tom tells Creative Boom. "Their use of colour and fluid illustrated type stood out to me. I had actually bought the 'Possibly Maybe' print for my home, and then a few weeks later, I decided to reach out to Dani. In my eyes, it felt like they were crying out to be brought to life through motion, and I was delighted to hear that Dani was keen to collaborate."
Dani adds: "I was chuffed when Tom reached out about a potential collaboration. I'd been hoping to get stuck into more animation and was a big fan of Buff. So yeah, it was one of those unusual situations where the perfect project appears at just the right time."
The original prints include the big blue words 'budge up' ironically squeezed into a compact pink border and the phrase 'eyes will roll' picked out in a suitably curly, eyelash flick-eqsue lettering and accompanied by a pair of peeved peepers. Speaking of what inspired them, Dani says: "The original prints were created as a response to a few things. Partly as an outlet for experimentation and play.
"They were also made partly to express ideas or thoughts that may or may not resonate with others. Usually focusing on words that evoke a feeling, memory or reaction."
Working with pre-existing prints seems to have smoothed the progress of the project. When Tom originally reached out with his proposal, five of the six artworks that became Type That Moves were ready to go. It was then a process of discussing with Dani which pieces from the Dotto collection would be the most appropriate to animate, settling on a shortlist, and getting to work.
"This was always developed as a passion project, which meant it had to fit in and around client work," Tom explains. "Over around five months, Buff and Dotto developed each animation, posting them across their social channels as they were completed."
Indeed, carving out time around client work seems to have been the project's biggest hurdle. Each animation loop only took roughly one to two days to complete, but even this small amount of time was difficult to find in such a busy studio as Buff Motion. A busy period of work only compounded matters. Still, as Type That Moves wasn't a time-sensitive endeavour, the team knew they had the flexibility to accommodate it. "it was a really fun one to pick up and put down!" Tom adds.
"The only other tricky aspect (excuse the pun) was to produce video content from the artwork designed with dimensions for print. We reworked it where possible but didn't want to drastically change the original artwork, so many of the proportions stayed the same."
All the hard work paid off, though, as Buff Motion and Dotto have created a type loop series that Dani says feels bold and reactionary. "But in reality, I think it's much more subtle than that. It's perhaps gently tapping into someone's consciousness which might enable them to remember or feel something specific. And it probably means something completely different for each person. Or nothing, of course, for others.
"But words have this magic way of turning into so much more in your head. So combined with colour and a bold graphic style - and then pushed even further with movement, the words can jump off the page or screen straight into your head and have more impact."