The Interpreter

In the realm of motion design and advertising, we’re constantly shape-shifting between one aesthetic and the next on the whims of the client, current trends, and technology. It’s a nebulous landscape and it can be hard to find ownership over the work we do.

Additionally, since so much of what makes up motion design is simply repurposed techniques and remixed tech, you could argue that true ownership is an impossibility. It’s all a remix of a remix of a remix… Regardless, it’s interesting how our views of the work and who we associate with what shift over time. The collage aesthetic is one that has very deep roots in our industry, but also in filmmaking and animation as a whole. What makes animation so magical though is that even with something as ubiquitous the collage aesthetic, it can still be possible to identify an individual’s approach.

Case in point:

Before it was even public, it was clear from a mile away who made this animation. While Ariel Costa/BlinkMyBrain can’t ever truly have ownership of this approach, he is definitely the one owning this space, right now.

Be sure to head over to The New York Times to view the full piece as it’s a great example of animation and journalism working hand in hand.

Make sure to check out some behind the scenes from Ariel himself below:

From Ariel:

Due to this political time we’re facing, not just the American but worldwide, I think it’s really nice when we have a chance to express something through our craft.
As Storytellers and visual artists it’s important for our industry to understand how powerful our skills are.
Sometimes we can and should make more than just cool transitions….but, if we find a way to add those damn transitions, why not? :)

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About the author

Joe Donaldson

Joe Donaldson is a director, designer, and animator who worked on Motionograpgher from 2014-2020. Previously, he was an art director at Buck. Over the past decade, he's lived and worked in Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles and has directed work for clients such as Apple, Google, Instagram, The New York Times, Unicef, Etsy, and The New Yorker. In addition to his creative work, in 2018 he started Holdframe. He's now working as a professor at Ringling College of Art and Design and when not teaching he can be found spending time with his family or out running.


Stephen Kelleher

I watched the first episode. The thesis put forth is that polarization might – just maybe – end democracy in the US. If this was a real concern of the heavily partisan New York Times, surely they would close up shop tomorrow. But instead they posit this bizarre ‘what if’ aimed at Trump that contributes to a feeling of unease and in turn condemns such feelings as the root cause of a potential societal meltdown. Wow . . . thanks?

Love the work by Ariel though!

Jan De Loore

exactly. and furthermore, the US is not a very good example of what democracy should (or could) be. (check swiss democracy)

but indeed, visually stunning work! :)


Great animation, very well executed.
Now if only the NYT would stop thinking we (here in the US) live in a “Democracy”.
We don’t and never have. We live in a Constitutional Republic.
Meaning rule of law. …but the left doesn’t care very much for laws… other than the laws they keep trying to pass limiting the very freedoms the nation depends on.

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