12 inventive uses of typography in music videos

Typography in motion is a perfect fit for the modern music video. It's great way for artists to communicate in a form that allows lyrics to come to life.

So it's no surprise that clever use of typography is becoming more and more common in music videos, giving life to words using a variety of techniques that interact visually with the themes and ideas of the song.

Here we've selected some of the best and most inspiring ways these two arts have come together to create an original set of videos for musicians of all genres.

01. Dream: Husbands

This is as good as a typography music video gets. Directed by Cauboyz, the lyrics are highlighted by a number of different fonts before exploding into a typography packed animation explosion. If you're as impressed as we are with the video, you can watch the 'Making-Of' over on Vimeo.

02. Technicolour Dreaming - Cardiknox

Inspired by straight-to-video movie posters from the '80s, this brilliantly inventive music video brings some rather questionable artwork to life through clever animation. It's an integration we've never seen before and one that works so well.

03. Good Life: Kanye West ft T-Pain

With rap star Kanye West you expect a beautifully produced, in-your-face music video and this is no exception. An amazing celebration of dancing colour and typography dominates the scene, creating a vibrant synergy with the iconic imaging and references peppered throughout the video.

04. Magnolia: Lushlife

In contrast to the high-tech graphical wizardry of the previous track, the playful use of physical cardboard-cutout words in this rap video offers an original and mind provoking narrative. The use of type throughout the sequence is very simple yet beautifully done and wonderfully effective, allowing the focus to fall on the music and its meaning without unnecessary distraction.

05. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything: MGMT

There's a physical, earthy theme to this music video animation too. The beautiful and poetic visuals that accompany MGMT's athemic indie musings bring the lyrics to glorious life via the power of typography. It's a captivating four minutes that both tells a story and communicates a unique universe through type and images.

06. Dedans: Odezenne

Lyrical melodies work hand in hand with the sketch-based, faux-vintage animation and clever typography in this music video for French rappers Odezenne. It's a smart and original combination that utilises lettering and movement in a subtle, evocative manner.

07. Hello Brooklyn: Jay-Z

Typography is the star of this black and white video for Jay-Z’s tribute to Brooklyn. In contrast to the more varied and colourful examples of typography used in some of the videos above, here Helvetica, strong B&W photography and a single vision combine to give the rap star's homage a sense of weight and authority.

08. Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger: Daft Punk

Created using After Effects and Trapcode Starglow, the use of LED signage typography in this video for the French dance classic is inspired. The conceit adds context to the environment and boosts the energy of the track, as the words are linked and transitioned in entertainingly clever ways.

09. Subterranean Homesick Blues: Bob Dylan (hand-lettering version)

Inspired by Bob Dylan's original and iconic Subterranean Homesick Blues video, where he flips cards with the lyrics as the song plays, this modern reworking of the song by Leandro Senna uses a variety of hand lettering to illustrate its timeless words and melodies. You can find out exactly how it was made here.

10. D.A.N.C.E.: Justice

This breathtaking and visually stimulating video for the funk-disco of Justice was produced by the very talented Jonas & Francois. It's captivating from the start, as it builds up a frenzy of moving typography and imagery, jumping from T-shirt to T-shirt. A great source of inspiration and an original alternative to the normal, run of the mill pop videos that litter our screens.

11. The Man: Caro Emerald

1950s Saul Bass-inspired visuals and typographical movement bring this music video for Caro Emerald to life. The nostalgia-themed colour and type, combined with '60s movie credits-style animation, is perfectly pitched to the toe-tapping big band swing on show here.

12. Skyfall: Adele

Before the official video for Adele’s James Bond movie theme was released, this video appeared. This subtle, elegant and beautiful video recreates the lyrics of the song in the style of a modern movie credit sequence, marking the British singer's comeback in style.

Words: Meryem Meg and the Creative Bloq staff

Meryem Meg is a Leeds-based graphic designer and illustrator whose inspiration lies in melodic word play and typographic experimentation. Follow her on Twitter at @meryemmeg.

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