Created by Ben Barrett-Forrest. 291 Paper Letters. 2,454 Photographs. 140 hours of work.

Ben Barrett-Forrest, from Forrest Media presents a stop-motion version of the history of the history of typography. Since Johannes Gutenberg and his invention of printing using movable type, he goes on to track the different types that have emerged and diverged since Nicolas Jenson’s invention of roman typeface. We asked him a few questions…

Created by Ben Barrett-Forrest. 291 Paper Letters. 2,454 Photographs. 140 hours of work.

What is your background?

I was born and raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, a small town in northern Canada. I started drawing my own typefaces when I was a very young boy, and more recently got into the fields of graphic design and animation. I am 21 years old and currently attending McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in southern Canada. I am in the third year of my Multimedia degree.

What you love the most in life?

I love music and design. I started playing the violin when I was 4 years old, about when I began drawing unique letters. I enjoy anything that allows me to be free and creative. If I am able to combine different types of creativity in a project, such as in “The History of Typography”, I am very happy.

Why this video about history of typography?

While there are many videos online about the history of typography, I have never found any that were as comprehensive and engaging as I would have wanted. Most people don’t know very much about typography, but I believe that it is an important and attractive subject. I made this animation to give people an educational and entertaining summary of the joys of typography, whether they are a font nerd or a complete layman.

Tell us more about your own unique technology used?

Making this animation using cut-out paper and my hands was incredibly labour intensive. I have received the comment that it is a bit ironic that I am using such a crude technology of paper cut-outs to represent such an evolved technology as typography.
I chose to use paper letters in a stop-motion style because I think it allows people to connect more closely with the typefaces I am showing. It brings the faces off of the computer screen and onto a more physical level that can be pushed around and manipulated. Another great thing about the paper medium I chose is that there are very few other animation like it that exist, which allows mine to stand out more.

Forrest Media website
Forrest Media website.

Do you plan to do more videos?

I would love to make more animations about typography and graphic design. The creation of this one dominated my life for a couple months, so I am enjoying a break from animating for a while. But soon I’ll be ready to get back to animating. If anyone has any ideas for the subject of my next animation, I would love to hear them. I can be contacted through, or on twitter at @benbf.

The usual question: What is your current favorite typeface?

I’m really impressed with what Måns Grebäck is doing these days. His script fonts are so energetic and organic, for example: Channel and Signerica.


→ Ben Barrett-Forrest video: The History of Typography, Animated Short
→ Ben Barrett-Forrest website: Forrest Media
→ Ben Barrett-Forrest twitter: Forrest Media