February Three For All: The Power of Abstraction
Feb 3, 2014
It’s easy to get caught up in the details when it comes to communication. Using the power of abstraction in a story can help you overcome that.
When you’re an expert, detailed information is part of your diet. Yet when we attempt to share our expert insights with others, doing so with clarity is often a challenge. This month we will take a look at the power of abstraction in animation, and the simple idea that less is more.
Google- u Proxy
Abstraction twists the way we view things and engages us without overwhelming us.
When you listen to the voiceover for this piece, a variety of different visualizations could fit. Yet stripping away distracting elements allows the viewer to focus on the message. It’s easy to get stuck in the details and features of a system. It is important to think about what the audience is going to walk away with, and push everything towards that idea. Focusing on the core of your message allows your brand to come across far more honest and sincere. The casual voiceover allows us to relate to the message, like we are hearing it from a friend rather than a commercial.
In terms of inspiration, the Google piece also demonstrates how ideas can grow from artistic to informative, and storytelling techniques can be used universally regardless of what you’re trying to say. For another example of this, see: https://vimeo.com/64020968
Abstraction can create new worlds from familiar objects — allowing us to think differently without a high barrier to entry.
What makes pieces like this successful is that it creates an escape from the real world. It appeals to the child in all of us, allowing imagination to take hold. The visuals encourage creativity and in turn enhance the messaging o2 is attempting to communicate. Instead of showing us something we see everyday, they take us somewhere new while maintaining the message.
WWF Cursor Swarm
Abstraction makes it possible to keep all the detail you need in a story without making them the focus of the story.
Lastly we will dive into the deep end. Using an abstract idea to tell a story. A simple campaign to sign a petition is transformed into something more. This piece expands on a simple moment (the act of clicking on a webpage) and evolves it into something more. The animation style allows each viewer to relate to the story as it doesn’t specify location or demographic. Abstraction allows the story to become universal, and helps the viewer gain a better understanding of the magnitude of their actions.
While the details have their place it is important they are used with intention and in the right medium. As the world’s attention span gets shorter and shorter, honing your message into an easily digestible story is important. In the age of the consumer it is hard to stand out against the noise that surrounds us. Seeing the world differently is key.
My passion for design was forged from LEGO’s, a $2 VHS camera, and the desire to never have a real summer job. I have always found myself at the intersection of hard work and creativity. In High School that meant splitting time in both the football stadium and the theatre department. In College, that meant staying up 72 hours straight to finish a design project. Today I apply that same passion to creatively solving problems with the utmost accountability.
As a designer, visual thinker, and creator I work with a love for all forms of visual communication. Creating work that is both technically and creatively strong is central to my process here at Centerline. Aside from motion design and advertising, I enjoy music, the outdoors, and a good book. I constantly strive to evoke thought, create change, and spark emotion not only in my work, but in my life as well.