MK12 has just released another in-house project, a short film called TELEPHONEME. It brings the idea of “language working as a double-agent, carrying a hidden meaning with it for reasons yet-unknown” (there’s a PDF with more details in the cool site!).

The movie expertly combines live action with animation in the collective’s unique style, with neatly composited shapes and type, aged-film textures, and a beautiful nostalgic color palette. TELEPHONEME synthesizes a lot of MK12’s aesthetic, which will definitely keep on inspiring crowds of Motion Designers throughout the world.

MK12’s co-founder Ben Radatz kindly shared some insights about the project:

TELEPHONEME came about after we’d begun writing a short about how the alphabet was actually a “trojan horse” with coded messages and symbols, designed by a shadow group intent on keeping the rest of us down. While writing the piece we came across a Bell Labs-funded educational film called “The Alphabet Conspiracy,” which had pretty much the same content we were writing into our version. So we instead appropriated the voiceover and re-mixed it into a slightly darker version of itself. The voice is that of Frank Baxter, aka Dr. Research, a well-known figure in the educational film world. And, he tweets! We developed a typeface called “Chadwick” which we envisioned as a “root font” of sorts – a theoretically perfect and balanced font that concerned itself more with technical execution than visual aesthetics. This was the font that we used throughout the piece, and we set up a pretty rigid set of guidelines for it’s use. It’s not something that’s likely to be picked up on, but it made a good foundation for the rest of the piece. While voiceover is borrowed from the original film, the sound design was done in-house, borrowing from analog sources and mixing them into a very sight-for-see composition.


About the author

Daniel Coutinho

Daniel lives in Los Angeles, CA, with his wife. Originally from Brazil, he is currently at Buck.



5 stars. Great way to improve on a style that nobody has come close to matching in damn near 10 years…

that, and i’m sure i’m not the only one that would be working a shit local IT job, had i not found their body of work years ago.


Awesome post!!! 5 stars!!!



Dan Rodrigues

It looks like an exercise that we used to have in the motion schools in Brazil. We have to animate some narrative, like some snippets of famous movies. The result is pretty good. And MK12 do it perfectly, specially when remixed de sound. 5 stars!


Im pretty sure those exercises originated because of mk12


MK12 is back.


Seconded. Lots of originality, designed flourishes, detailed sound design, and classic MK12 stylishness. Really feels like evolution, instead of retread. Bravo!

Dope-ass work AND giving away fonts? MK12 definitely running it…


Really digging this. Like it a whole lot more than History Of America.


Wow, that messed with my head. Beautiful small touches. Great headphone piece.


History of America was like their Indiana Jones 4.
Welcome back MK12. Glad you decided to get rid of Shia Lebouf.

Not only were the visuals stunning, the sound just drives it home. Very well done!


awesome piece, amazing comeback!


thanks for all the comments!

mark kim



MK12 are the pioneers of motion graphics. I remember when i started studying motion design back in 2003 everyone was trying to figure out how mk12 make such complex and high quality stuff. They are my inspiration.


MK12 has delivered an insightful and delightful piece driven by typography.
Thank you for giving us a reminder of why we got into Motion Graphics… the typography choices and transitions are just right!


Yummmmmm! So good. Loved 100% of it. And thanks for the typeface!


MK12 has always been Unique!
They are my Favorite!
They Rock!


I love it! I’ve watched it over and over!

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