36 Days of Type is a project that invites designers, illustrators and graphic artists to express their particular interpretation of letters and numbers of the alphabet. Animator Albert Oriol took the challenge and has put together an eclectic and flowing mosaic of illustrations. Oriol contacted 36 different illustrators and pitched them an animated version of a letter they had illustrated. The finished result sees Oriol juxtapose each of these illustrations together in an inspiring compilation. DN spoke with him about his process on managing this collaboration and the lessons he learned in the process.

What inspired you to take part in 36 Days of Type?

I’ve wanted to carry out a collaborative project for quite some time now and 36 Days of Type seemed like the perfect opportunity. For anyone that doesn’t know, 36 Days of Type is a yearly call to creativity where participants are challenged to design a letter or number every day, for 36 days straight. Participants are encouraged to post the results on Instagram where the official 36 Days of Type curation team selects the best daily entries. It’s a celebration of all the different artistic styles and of the imagination of artists from all over the world.

What did you pitch to the artists?

The first thing that I told everyone was that I really enjoyed their work and that I was working on a collaborative project with 36 designers. I told them which specific letter or number of theirs I wanted to animate and that since this would be a collaborative project, that I would always tag them as the original artist. People were really happy to hear that I would be animating their work with no strings attached, some offered to send me the original files which really helped with the whole process!

How was the process of communicating with all those artists?

At first, the idea of uniting 36 artists that don’t know each other for a collaborative project seemed impossible. Since the project is almost entirely Instagram centered, I set out to contact the 36 artists via private message, always personalizing the messages so that it felt more human and so that Instagram didn’t flag me as a spammer. Communications on Instagram are tough if both parties don’t follow each other as the other person doesn’t usually get notified.

Since I was sending out messages in batches, this made starting the project even harder as sometimes I was waiting for answers without any work in queue. Luckily for me, most designers answered fairly quickly and didn’t require me insisting. However, some people don’t really check Instagram that often so I had to resort to finding their email or other social media accounts. I did have to discard a couple of artists that didn’t answer me.

I wanted to treat this like a spectacle of what animation can truly bring to the table.

What did you learn from the process of animating these letters? Both technically and artistically?

One of my main goals with this project was to challenge myself to try out different animation styles that I don’t usually get a chance to work on. I also wanted the alphabet to be as rich as possible in animation techniques like traditional animation, 3D animation, character animation, 2D animation… I feel that if I had chosen just one style for all of the letters and numbers that the project would not have been as interesting. I wanted to treat this like a spectacle of what animation can truly bring to the table.

Are you working on anything new at the moment?

I’m developing a couple of new ideas for personal projects that I would like to carry out but nothing too serious yet. I’m very thankful for all of the attention that the project is getting and genuinely astonished to read everyone’s comments. It’s been such a great two weeks that for now, I’m just enjoying and taking it all in.

36 Days of Type – An Animated Collaboration is one of the many great projects shared with the Directors Notes Programmers through our submissions process. If you’d like to join them submit your film.

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