We all remember gluing ourselves to MTV watching music video after music video. And while the music video is certainly an artform, it’s also changed a lot throughout the years, especially when it comes to design.
More and more artists are using their videos as a way to experiment with design and push creative boundaries. While some artists have implemented unique color schemes, others have employed animation elements, and some have even made their videos accessible through non traditional mediums.
In honor of these creative endeavors, we’ve rounded up 10 that we found the most visually captivating. Take a look and share your favorites with us in the comment section below.
1. OK Go – “The Writings on the Wall”
Directed by Aaron Duffy, Damian Kulash, Jr. and Bob Partington
OK Go is no stranger to awesome videos, but their recent video for “The Writing’s on the Wall” takes the cake when it comes to design. Directed by the band’s Damian Kulash alongside Aaron Duffy and Bob Partington, the colorful four-minute video was shot in a single take using a hand-held Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 camera mounted in a stabilizing Fig Rig frame, and is full of optical illusions and mind trickery.
2. Arcade Fire – “Reflektor”
Directed by Vincent Morisset
Watch the interactive version at https://www.justareflektor.com
Released last year, Arcade Fire’s video for “Reflektor” upped expectations when it came to music video design. Designed for Google Chrome, the video allows you to manipulate light, placement and object, allowing you to see (or not to see) various aspects of the video. Arcade Fire always pushes the limit when it comes to their music videos (The Wilderness Downtown is a variation of “We Used To Wait” that also includes interactive elements), but we especially love this colorful endeavor.
3. tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”
Directed by Mimi Cave
tUnE-yArDs know how to use color. Their video for “Bizness” is an explosion of oranges, yellows and pinks alongside little bits of blues. It kicks off with face-painted kids choreographed dancing in a classroom and moves to equally as wacky rhythmic adults. The use of color and choreography is captivating on its own, but the video being wonderfully shot doesn’t hurt one bit either.
4. Gotye – “Easy Way Out”
Directed by Darcy Prendergast
Gotye’s video for “Easy Way Out” is an continous look at everyday life. The head-spinning video follows Gotye as he wakes up, makes breakfast and pounds away on his typewriter. Blue in color and content, the video uses eerie sculptural elements, color and movement to create one awesomely designed music video.
5. Grape Soda – “Obvious Signs”
Directed by Lauren Gregg and Craig Sheldon
Athens-based band of brothers Grape Soda are haunted by a animated ghost deer after keyboardist Mat Lewis hits it while driving in their video for “Obvious Signs.” The video is colorful and upbeat, and follows the sneaky deer, who, apart from normal ghost activity like popping out of shower heads and cereal boxes, plays video games and scores a place in the band at Mat’s expense. It’s a smart ghost (and a smartly designed video).
6. Sigur Rós – “Stormur”
Watch the interactive version at http://stormur.sigur-ros.co.uk
Sigur Rós’ Jonsi does seem somewhat of a dream king, so it’s no surprise that he came up with such a whimsical idea for his song “Stormur.” An ever-changing music video, it morphs via Instagram video every time you watch it. That’s right, it strings fans’ Instagram photos and videos together for a continually updated visual. You can watch the current rendition by clicking on the link above.
7. First Aid Kit – “Cedar Lane”
Directed by Neil Krug
First Aid Kit’s video for “Cedar Lane” is simply shot and designed. So instead of elaborate effects, the video’s strength lies in its saturated color, which is as dreamy as the song itself. Both lovely and whimsical, the series of face shots and flowery overlay lets us float through the tune alongside the Swedish folk duo.
8. Future Islands – “A Dream Of You And Me”
Directed by Elena Johnston and William Cashion
Future Islands’ video for “A Dream Of You And Me” is a design favorite thanks to its simplicity and use of color. Through stop-motion animation, craft supplies like sand, shells, paper and (lots of) glitter come together to form quirky compositions. The objects move and change alongside the song, putting new meanings and ideas behind them. There’s even shadow play with pipe cleaners, a genius craft supply that deserves the comeback.
9. Freelance Whales – “Enzymes”
Directed by Chunwoo Kae and Ryan Demler
The design behind Freelance Whales’ video for their song “Enzymes” is stunning. From colorful, exploring flowers to rain falling in slow motion, it’s all visually captivating. And like OK Go’s video for “The Writing’s on the Wall,” it incorporates its fair share of eye trickery.
10. Thee Oh Sees – “The Lens”
Directed by Alex Theodoropulos
Thee Oh Sees’ video for “The Lens” may feel like one long trip at points, but visually, that makes it kind of awesome. Colorful, animated figures and abstract shapes move and transform, and move the video along. Things do get pretty weird at points, too (cue space whale).