The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Animated Typography

  • Fonts in Use
Fonts in Use | Yves Peters | December 10, 2008

Exactly 60 years ago, on December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To celebrate this 60th anniversary The Human Rights Action Center commissioned graphic and motion designer Seth Brau to produce an animation for promotional use and activism. Seth faced the mammoth task of translating no less than thirty articles into a coherent and fluent animated typography piece. Using only Helvetica with stylised illustrations, in simple black on a tan background, he created a short film that is both elegant and experimental in scale, and in its use of type and symbolism.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from Seth Brau on Vimeo.

Tim Yu posted a very nice concise entry on Cool Hunting explaining the background of the project.

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  1. That is a really inspirational video. The thing I like about animated typography ( besides the typography :) ) Is the fact that you do not have to rely on a actor to carry the message, the message carries itself. Very Nice!

    Posted by Chad Engle on Dec. 11, 2008
  2. nice! that was perfectly simple, yet bold! thanks for posting!

    Posted by Jason on Dec. 15, 2008
  3. Es una composición animada ¡realmente hermosa!

    Simpleza y buena musica por un fin común.

    Posted by Miguel Angel S2 on Dec. 19, 2008
  4. I hate to disagree. The movie is certainly appropriate, but it could be much better if they hadn’t picked the worst typeface for it. Helvetica Light and Regular can look really cool and even legible at large sizes, with lots of white space around it. But not in ALL CAPS! Cut off the bottom of the R and B and they look the same; between verticals of two adjacent letters there is much less room than in the counter-spaces of these characters. That leads to accidental clumps, especially when words are changed in size drastically. You can avoid that effect by increasing tracking, but then Helvetica caps take even more space.

    The whole thing could be 100% improved by using caps from a typeface that has contrast and rhythm. Safe bets are always Gill and Futura. More interesting could have been Syntax or Thesis. And Frutiger is always a safe bet: much better than Helvetica at any rate. The same rule applies to whatever typeface you pick: You have to letterspace all caps. They are designed to work in a mixed setting, so if you use them in caps only, they need more room to breathe!

    Posted by erik on Dec. 23, 2008
  5. great work! very inspiring…. thanks for all the hard work.

    Posted by anishvshah on Jan. 3, 2009
  6. I kind of agree with Erik. A variation of typefaces would of been very nice. Awesome video though. Great work!

    Posted by Ramy on Jan. 31, 2009

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