The Galliard Story

Communication Design - CMU Design Fall 2019

Collaborators: Individual
Duration: 4 Weeks
Skills: Motion Graphics, Typography, Storyboarding


For both these projects, I dove into the history and stylistic traits of the Galliard typeface. Over the course of four weeks, I explored utilized knowledge with typesetting, color, and motion graphics to create two visual design deliverables:

- 60 sec. Dynamic Typography Animation
- 17 x 11 Magazine Spread

For these projects, I relied heavily on pen and paper sketching, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. Not only did this project refine my technical skills, but it also taught me a range of soft skills such as utilizing compositional heirarchy, storyboarding flow-to-flow narratives, and crafting micro-interactions. Below are the final products:

17 x 11" Magazine Spread
Final Product

01 / Magazine Spread


Before any handling of text, I researched the story of Galliard and its historical context. Some key takeaways I got from my research was that Galliard was a form of Renaissance dance and music popular all over Europe in the 16th century. The typeface was designed to be a reflection of that time period’s culture, which can really be seen through its structural qualities. With my gathered research, I developed / wrote out a first draft summary describing the history and significance of the typeface. This writing also became the eventual content I used on the magazine spread.


Through this research process, I discovered that though the font’s roots originated hundreds of years ago, it was only recently redesigned in 1978, making it relevant for both digital and print mediums. This meant that Galliard was designed to have historical print intentions but utilized in a present world with new technologies.

Personally-written text for my Magazine Spread

02 / Typesetting

To gauge readability sizes and fonts, I printed out the content I wrote on a series of pages, each having a different leading and font size. The goal of this process was for me to better visualize how a variety of settings might vary on screen verses physically on paper.

With enough context of Galliard’s history and usage, I began exploring the type setting — how to display text on a page. In the next series of spread, I kept color and image variables constant, and began playing with various layout formations.

Paper Thumbnail Sketches
Digital Iterations

Though unconventional, I believed that the layout below best integrated imagery and type together into one entity, rather than displaying text in one portion and visuals on another.Moving forward, I wanted to explore how imagery and color might tell a more appropriate visual story about the typeface Galliard.

Selected Iteration

03 / Image Exploration

I started off with word dumping things that I associated with Galliard. Many of these words revolved around the topics of the Renaissance, which is most identifiably characterized by art, dance, intellect, and elegance. As quite an elegant font, I wanted to depict Galliard in that respective light, surrounded by iconic symbols of history and culture.

Renaissance-esque Images
Spread Layout + Image
Selected Iterations

04 / Type Refinement

Regarding typography choice, I always wanted to somehow juxtapose serifs and san serifs together on this spread. I’ve always loved the stylistic contrast created from doing so. However, after engaging in a lot of collaboration and feedback critiques with peers, I realized that this wasn’t necessarily the optimal situation to use it.

Problematic Serif + San Serif
Alternative Solutions

05 / Further Image Exploration

Rather than use Apple's iOS Human Interface and Google's Material Design, I wanted to brand the app to appear and feel different. This led to changes a few intentional design decisions.

Sculpture Imagery
Selected Imagery

06 / Final Spread

To conclude, I decided to select this image for the final spread. After reflecting on my research and analysis of Galliard as a historical art piece, this image best conveyed the culture and dynamic movement during its time.

01 / Typography Animation


Previously designing a visual magazine spread, this next sequence in the project was an additional exploration of Galliard and its form.

60-Second Typography Animation

02 / Wordstorming

In the previous project, I had already researched the history and formal structure of the typeface. However, transferring mediums from static print to digital motion graphics prompted me to word-storm and better define what traits really defined Galliard. I consciously tried to focus on traits that were physical or tangible in some way. Some of the words I pulled out were elegant, calligraphic, majestic, sensuous, and intricate.

15-Min. Brainstorming Session

At this end of this session, I detailed out two directions to pursue:

1) Emphasis on Galliard’s culture and history
2) Focus on Galliard’s typographical form and physicality

The first option would depict the typeface in a more proper and traditional context where much of the content would hone in on Galliard’s designers and road to development. The second route would highlight Galliard’s elegance as a serif font with its sophisticated forms.

The ideal path for me would have been to merge these two directions into one, but a big problem was the fact that Galliard is a very classical dance and if I were to portray the typeface in that light, it would ultimately restrict the stylistic direction I coudl take the typeface. At the end, I decided to focus on the structural form of Galliard and it’s defining traits.

03 / Color

Though I wanted to place the animation’s focus on Galliard’s form-based traits, I still wanted some references to its Renaissance roots. I pulled color inspiration through both physical sampling and digital sample.

Physical Exploration
Digital Exploration

Through this broad exploration process, I concluded Renaissance colors have a muted character to them. At the end I pulled out three high potential colors:

Selected Color Options

04 / Storyboarding

Iteration 1 — Paper

For this initial step, my primary goal was blocking out structural positioning for the text rather than developing out the details and micro-interactions.

Iteration 2 — Digital Exploration

I then transferred my work onto Adobe Illustrator where I began playing with higher fidelity flows. This was also the phase where I began splash testing colors to see how they would express themselves as an overall narrative. From there, I jumped into Adobe After Effects and began prototyping initial interactions.

Iteration 3 — Digital Exploration

As I went, I constantly updated my storyboard to fit the narrative arc and ultimately the music. Below is a higher fidelity storyboard of my entire animation.

04 Semi-final Critique

I eventually built up 60 seconds worth of animation and decided to consult peers and mentors about their initial experiences with the video. Below are some takeaways I pulled from my conversations.


- Possibly introduce an additional second color to compliment the purple
- Experiment with other shades.
- Commit to either representing the classical history or focus on complimenting the music choice.

Clarity & Simplicity

- Simplify verbal language
- Work on timing → some phrases aren’t given enough time
- TYPE SIZE on large screen verses laptop

Narrative Takeaways

- Simplify verbal language
- I have so many elegant transitions and animations but how do I draw attention to the content, to the meat of the animation?
- I want them to leave with a impactful emotional response, but it’s also important that the audience receives key learning points from the video.

Testing Animation on Big Screen

04 Final Storyboard

In this version, I refined a few things. I brought up the saturation on the purple to make it bolder and fit the music better. I introduced a gold spot color to compliment the purple to better convey royalty and elegance. Finally, I simplified my textual language on many of these pages.

Final Product