Typography Captures the Essence of Four Great Cities [Video]

By January 18, 2017Blog

Commissioned by language-teaching company EF, these magical promos use kinetic typography to capture the pure beauty of speaking mother tongues in Paris, London, Beijing, and Barcelona.

If you’ve ever been young and alone in a foreign country, we’re betting you’ll melt after watching “Live The Language,” a series of videos which combine exquisite typography and playful visuals to cinematically capture the joy (and uncertainty, and terror, and everything else) of learning a new language in a strange city.

Take the video for Paris, for example. Jean-Luc Godard famously said that all you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun, but after watching this and literally tearing up at the end, I propose an amendment: all you need is a girl and a font.

The films’ luscious imagery comes courtesy of cinematographer Niklas Johansson, but the type — by Barcelona-based designer and art director Albin Holmqvist — is what truly makes them magical. If you watch closely, you’ll notice that director Gustav Johansson makes the foreign words onscreen subtly move to match the quivering handheld camera: a pitch-perfect visual metaphor for the fumbling, tentative experience of learning and using foreign words.

Of course, shooting in the most glamorous and fascinating cities on earth never hurts a film’s chances, either. Not only will you learn a few new words watching these clips, you’ll get a highlight reel of the coolest places to visit in them, too. And if you’re tired of watching lissome beauties flounce their way down cobblestoned alleys, don’t worry, ladies — EF has a hot young bloke wandering around Beijing to get your hearts a-fluttering too:

And that’s the true genius of the design in these films: more than anything else, it shows that learning a new language is one of the most powerful ways in the world to feel young again. Johannson could have replaced his sun-kissed models with wrinkly octogenarians and still gotten the same crackling energy and swelling emotions onscreen. Actually, that ain’t a bad idea: EF, if you’re listening, make a sequel or two! But if you do, make sure to bring back Holmqvist and his gorgeous type to seal the deal.

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