Feeling Good In Motion Typography
Lovers of crooning may know the James Bond-like cover by Michael Bublé best; rock fans the tense, twisted version by Muse; or you may have heard Jennifer Hudson’s slightly overwrought interpretation used in the Weight Watcher’s commercial. It is difficult to keep track of the number of covers of the song Feeling Good, originally penned by English singer-songwriters Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse for the 1965 musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd. For many the definitive rendition is Nina Simone’s which appeared on her 1965 album I Put a Spell on You. This classic version served as the basis for a motion graphics video using only black and white typography. Created by Tamara Gildengers Connolly, it was the 2nd place winner in the 2007 Type Directors Club annual student competition. Tamara, who holds degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and the School of Visual Arts, is now principal of the multi-disciplinary graphic design studio Gildengers Connolly in Jersey City, NJ. Her growing list of accolades includes two Awards for Typographic Excellence from the TDC.
Tamara Gildengers Connolly:
The Feeling Good video was done for a class taught by Gail Anderson at the SVA MFA Design program. The assignment was: using only black and white typography and typographic elements, make a motion graphic accompaniment to a song of your choosing. I picked Nina Simone’s Feeling Good because I knew I could listen to it a million times without getting tired of it. The look of the video was informed by Nina Simone’s old album covers, and old footage of her performing, which is very grey on grey (you can see some of this footage on YouTube). I also took note of other visual elements from the 1960s era in order to make the video feel like it came from the same spirit. The rest of the design process came from responding to the mood and lyrics of song itself. In all, this project was certainly one of my favorites. Motion graphics can be extremely tedious and demanding of one’s time, but when you can step back and just enjoy what you’ve done, it’s very satisfying, especially when so many other people have been able to enjoy it as well.
The video is a lovely and above all very fitting accompaniment of the song. It beautifully visualises its lyrics, and translates the laid-back, leisurely atmosphere into clever kinetic typography. The summery theme is echoed in recurring sun/flower/tree motifs which rotate and pulsate to the rhythm of the music. Letter forms combine into the butterflies and dragonflies from the song’s text. Another great find is Nina Simone’s scatting turned into a relentless stream of characters crossing the bottom of the screen. The typographic palette follows the visual style. The quintessential bracketed slab serif Clarendon and chubby Cooper Black are used rather small, while bigger text is set in the fat face Poster Bodoni and geometric sans serif ITC Bauhaus.
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