Art Direction
Character Animation
How the Economic Machine Works in 30 Minutes 

Talking to people about the economy is hard. Getting people to watch a 30 minute video about how the economy works is even harder. That was our challenge when Jonathan Jarvis approached us about turning Ray Dalio’s paper on How the Economic Machine Works into an animated film. With Jonathan, our process centered on defining a few simple, scalable metaphors and illustrating them as simply as possible in order to describe a system built on a few principles interacting with each other in ways that produce complex results.

Friendly and accessible for all audiences were the defining metrics for our design, illustration, and typographic solutions. The animation had to be engaging and well-crafted so we can retain attention for a half an hour, but simple enough to punctuate the message, not overwhelm. Over the development of the animatic, while translating static sketches over time with voice over, we continued to refine the visual metaphors so that every time we introduced a new topic, we could lean back on our pre-established visual vocabulary. By the time we had entered production mode, we had a full library of individual sprites and a handful of broad layouts that we could combine to create the bulk of the film, leaving room for singular moments of spectacle to keep the audience on their toes. These systems, paired with four teaching-based color schemes allowed us to tell the story of a complex topic as simply as possible, based on a few guiding design and animation principles.

Creative Direction: Justin Meredith

Art Direction: Kyle Miller

Design: Ly Ngo, Kyle Miller, Josh Goodrich, Justin Meredith

Animation: Ken Krueger, Gerald Mark Soto, Mike Burgoyne, Keith Endow, Kyle Hurley, Josh Goodrich, Elia Stern, Kyle Miller, and many more…

Produced at Thornberg & Forester

© 2021 Kyle Miller

︎  513 967 9006   |    ︎