Moving With the Times — Five Steps to Break Into Video and Animation


We started O Street over ten years ago, and design looked pretty different then. While we’ve stayed true to our roots—remaining small and making thoughtfully different design—the output of that design has changed with technology. Especially in regards to video and animation.

Some things in design never change. We’re communicators; the foundation stays the same. Paul Rand wrote, “the fundamental problem of the advertiser and publisher is to get the message into the reader’s mind.” As Marshall McLuhan said, the medium is the message. And that medium, which used to live on a wall, now lives on a screen.

It’s 2018. Things gotta move.

It’s pretty much assumed with every client we work with now that they’d like something interactive for people to engage with. To get a new client to sign on the dotted line, more and more they want to see that design move. And they’re right to do so: one third of the total internet population is on Youtube. Half a billion people watch video content on Facebook every day.

It’s 2018. WE gotta move. So here’s five steps we took to break into animating our work and getting into video content:

1 Ease in.

New to making things move? Start simple, like with the quick and dirty animated gifs you see in this post. It’s a dimension beyond static images, and will get your brain used to constructing moving compositions, but they’re quick and easy to create.


2 Collaborate.

When you’re a small outfit, you need to be able to balloon up to ten times your size at a moment’s notice. We do this with regular video and animation collaborators, working alongside cinematography outfit Just Trek to film live-action ads, Playdead to create 3D experiences, and our friends at Tape to bring brands to life.


3 Make friends with plugins.

You can do things the hard way, or you can get a little help. There’s merit in both approaches. With making the jump from still to moving design, however, you might want to at least dabble with the latter. Enter plugins, little components you can run in programs such as After Effects to give you a little boost.

If part of your animation process seems needlessly tedious, it probably is, and someone else has probably built a plugin in response to that.


4 Get paid to learn.

If we had a cat for every time we said “we could do something like this…” to a client, but the “something” wasn’t something we’d ever done, we’d have some cats. And it’s something we did with video and animation. Never, ever overcommit and promise something you aren’t sure you can deliver. However, working a new process—an ‘I’d love to try that’—into a live job is a great way to get paid to learn.


5 Bring in young blood.

It’s no secret that younger folk tend to be naturals with emergent technology. When we found ourselves hiring O Street newcomer Jonny Mowat, we found our work started moving a bit more (he made the showreel above in about five minutes). If you’re in a position to grow your team, consider someone with less experience but more natural knack for motion.

These are fun new times—let’s move together. Hit us up about a video/motion project or ask about doing an internship with us.

The Two Jonnys


AAI—Adopt An Intern / All About Incentives


Jonny N: Hello again, it’s nice to be with you, isn’t it Jonny?

Jonny J: Yes, it is, and in a packed programme tonight, we shall be talking to two graphic designers and asking ‘do your fonts really come from Monaco and Geneva?’

Jonny N: And ‘can the use of bad kerning ever be justified?’ So Jonny, you first came to see us almost a year ago, and I said to you ‘I really like the cut of your jib and I’d like to bring you in to work on a project with us.’

Jonny J: That’s right Jonny, but you were a bit rushed off your feet with one thing and another and because money is always tight in a small agency, you were unable to organise anything with me.

Jonny N: Indeed… and I also have a memory like a sieve.

Jonny J: Mmm–hmm, a bit rubbish, then?

Jonny N: Well… I, er…

Jonny J: So you must’ve been pleasantly surprised when the nice man from ‘Adopt An Intern’ got in touch to say that they would fund somebody for six weeks, giving you the chance to run the rule over them with a possible view to a full-time position?

Jonny N: I was delighted, Jonny, to say the very least. The signup and acceptance process was really straightforward and in the time it took to say ‘can’t you just turn him the other way round in Photoshop?’, we had everything done and dusted and you were in the studio, working on the old iMac next to the toilet!

Jonny J: (forces weak laugh) Ha-ha, yes. It was great…

Jonny N: Did you think it might lead to a full-time job or were you put off by the amount of foul language you heard in the studio.

Jonny J: No, I kinda hoped there would be an opening if I knuckled down and produced the goods, plus I wore earplugs most of the time, so the swearing wasn’t really an issue.

Jonny N: Ah, I couldn’t fathom why my constant requests for you to put the kettle on were met with complete inaction.

Jonny J: Oh yeah, I did wonder what it was you were saying to me!

Jonny N: Anyway, here we are… It’s all worked out jolly well, hasn’t it?

Jonny J: Yes, it has.

Jonny N: And you are now a much-valued member of the family. I don’t suppose there’s any chance of a cup of tea then?

Jonny J: Um…

Jonny N: Well that’s all we have time for this week. Next week we’ll talk to a typographer who suffered an Arial attack and can’t ‘face’ it anymore.

Jonny J: And we’ve just been told the police are desperately seeking an art director who steals the end of design blog posts. He is described as tall and balding with a very big…

Jonny N: That’s all we’ve got time for this evening, so it’s goodnight from me…

Jonny J: And it’s goodnight from him.

Both: Goodnight!

– – – – –

Thanks, of course to The Two Ronnies and thanks to Tim Street at AAI. Below is some of the work that Jonny has produced with O Street in the last couple of months.

Here’s Jonny


O Street’s shopping spree continues, and this time we’ve added a Jonny Mowat to our toolkit.

Jonny is a serious busybody of a young designer—you’d think there was two of him—deftly crossing mediums and materials to explore new ways of designing.

In addition to fresh music taste, Jonny brings some serious motion graphics and 3D rendering skills to O Street. We’re chuffed to have him.