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  • Writer's pictureDegen Mag

Motion Graphics: A Nerdy Brief History

The beginnings of motion graphics have been around since the 1500s. Color music, color organs, huge names like Oskar Fischinger and Norman McLaren. Len Lye and Mary Hallock-Greenwalt. Unless you’re a geek like me, it might be something that you’ve never thought about. Moving pictures, in all forms, have a history. Motion graphics is just a small piece of the evolution of technology and animation. In its current form, motion graphics is EVERYWHERE you look. Have you ever watched ESPN during Monday Night Football and thought “damn, that’s cool?”. Glitch art in music videos like Yamborghini High by A$AP Mob or crazy 3D visualizers that you see at an Odesza concert that absolutely blow you away? That absolutely insane title sequence for Westworld? That’s allllll motion graphics, baby. Like I said, it’s everywhere. What we do as motion designers spans across so many different fields. It’s a pipeline that has infinite destinations. As technology evolves, so will motion graphics. What started off as IBM animations by John Whitney is now huge takeovers in Times Square. I work in advertising, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how much motion graphics has elevated the art of selling things to people. For some reason, movin’ some stuff around a screen just really does it for consumers. And boy am I thankful for that. We don’t always have the language for what we’re seeing. So I hope this very brief, somewhat information heavy explanation of motion graphics gives you the slightest understanding of what you’re viewing as an audience member. And hell, maybe you’ll even enjoy it enough to give it a try. When you think “holy crap, that’s so cool” in the future, be curious. Take 5 seconds to google “wtf is this really cool Marvel title sequence” and end up learning that the absolutely brilliant minds at Sarofsky are the creators of most of them. If you’re into history, pick up The History of Motion Graphics by my former professor Michael Betancourt (it’s a heavy read, but man, is it a good one.) Tl;dr: motion graphics is pretty freaking cool. My name is Meghann Kennedy-Miller. I am a motion designer and wanna-be art director based in Kansas City, Missouri. I currently make cool stuff at the Vault Division of VML, a worldwide advertising firm. I also freelance when I can, so hit me up at, and while you’re there, check out some really cool stuff I’ve done for clients such as: Smirnoff, Gerber Gear, and metoo.

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