Type Animation | Mikey Kelly

After studying business and working as an analyst for 2 years, NYC-based designer Mikey Kelly decided to go to portfolio school to study advertising and design. He then began his creative career by landing a job at &Walsh as a Graphic Designer. Here, he gets to work with many parts of design, including typography, animation, strategy, photo illustration, 3D and branding. 

Mikey started making personal work whilst he was still in school. “I found that it was much easier to experiment when I didn’t have the pressure of working with a client or creative director” explains the designer. This experimentation increased his confidence as a designer when creating new projects. “When I began at &Walsh, I wasn’t sure if I would continue with it since I was so busy with studio work. But, after seeing how much of my client work was getting killed, I felt a huge pull to make stuff that could live on” he continues. 

Since he started designing, Mikey has always been drawn to 3D. He started learning Cinema 4d after work and enjoys pushing the limits with certain functions of the program. The designer continues iterating with a specific function over and over until he creates something that gets him excited. 

His type animations are made from wrapping a material with type on it over a 3D object, moving the material over the object while simultaneously moving the object in space. The right combination of these two movements makes the animation. “I like to explore every possible variation before clicking render. I think the difference between something good and something great can be just a few more minutes of work” states Mikey. 

The inspiration behind one of his favourite poster projects comes from his still fairly new surroundings of NYC. “I’m always so impressed by how much graphic design exists in the city. I walk past the same subway signs every day, and one day I remember looking up and thinking, wow, that’s a beautiful sign” he describes. Analysing signage around the city, Mikey took note of the fact coloured typography was often presented on a black background. Inspired by this aesthetic, Mikey translated this into his own designs by flipping the colours and adding Sharp Grotesk.

Last Summer, Mikey created a logo animation for Stefan Sagmeister to coincide with the relaunch Sagmeister Inc. Tasked with making ‘something beautiful’ and not necessarily conceptual, he pushed the medium by adding the element of reveal to the logo design. “He was great to work with…he gave me very precise feedback and was so encouraging,” says the designer.

With a passion for lighting and texturing, he plans to continue exploring new ways to combine these elements with traditional graphics.