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.

(Actually) Fake It, Until You (Actually) Make It


Fake it till you make it the Orson Welles way: how he gave us a blueprint for getting creative dream projects going with Citizen Kane

A couple years ago, we found ourselves wanting to break into the world of beer packaging. We wanted to do it, we knew we could do it, but we hadn’t done it. And without that sort of work in your folio, it’s tough to get breweries to throw money at you to do it.

So, we faked it.

Fake it till you make it. It’s a cliche. And as usual, it’s a cliche because there’s some truth to it. Here’s a scenario: you’ve got a creative itch to scratch — an awesome idea you’re dying to bring into the world — but you can’t get the support you need to get it rolling, without having shown that you can do it. It’s a catch-22. Enter Citizen Kane.

When Orson Welles was thinking up his masterpiece, he couldn’t find the money to make it. None of the Hollywood big-shots would fund his project. So, he faked it. Welles scraped up some cash, built some DIY sets, and started filming. He created just enough to show execs that it existed. His vision was true. He could do it. They bought in. We know the result — arguably the greatest film ever.

We took a similar route to break into the beer industry. O Street created its own event series combining home-brewed beer, culture and experimental packaging. We were scratching a few at once, but the underlying goal was to create awesome beer packaging to show breweries:

It worked.

Not only did the series, Beertimes, become a beloved exercise for the studio, it won us a packaging gig with BrewDog. They were looking for a competent yet daring studio to do a brand and packaging revamp for their experimental beer series ABSTRAKT, and our DIY effort showed we could handle it.

Our takeaway from this experience looks something like this:

Now, we’re redesigning the brand entire fleet of beers for another landmark Scottish brewery. A body in motion stays in motion. Even if you’ve got to fake it to get it going in the first place.