Counting Down With Juan Carlos Pagan and Sunday Afternoon for YouTube

When the team at YouTube approached designer Juan Carlos Pagan of Sunday Afternoon with a unique project, he knew that he had to push his limits and develop a design that would be visually stunning and convey a deeper meaning. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Pagan’s project, “YOUTUBE COUNTDOWN,” which involved creating a 10-minute countdown clock for YouTube that uses bubbles to convey the ephemeral nature of time. Here, Pagan explores the creative process that led to the final design and how collaboration with Bewilder, a South African animation studio, and the YouTube team brought the idea to life.

By: Juan Carlos Pagan

“In 2021, the team at YouTube reached out to me about a really interesting project. After our first call, I learned that every year YouTube commissions artists to create 10-minute countdown clocks across a wide variety of design and animation disciplines. Artists included Todd St. John, Maciej Kuciara, Ash Thorp, My Name Is Wendy, Dia Studios, Kevin McGloughlin, Dedouze, and Lucas Zanotto, amongst others.

“These countdown clocks are used on the YouTube platform as users premiere a video live to their audience. Users and their audience can gather 10 minutes before the video goes live.

“I was asked by the YouTube team to create one of these countdown clocks. After sitting with the idea I came to the realization that I wanted my countdown clock to try and convey the ephemeral nature of time. I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for the fleetingness of time than bubbles. I have always found the creation and destruction of bubbles to be a beautiful demonstration of time. These weightless objects effortlessly float in space, visually bending everything in their path and being created and destroyed in an instant. In this case, the countdown bubbles warp and manipulate the custom-drawn letterforms. These two representations of time interact and distort each other.

“I started by designing the numbers, and how they would look manipulated by the interaction with the bubbles. It was really an exercise in balance. I wanted to make sure the numbers would still read while also being distorted. These numbers would also need to be animated in a way that kept the initial idea alive. I then reached out to Bewilder, a brilliant animation studio based out of South Africa. They immediately saw and understood the idea, and helped me match the drawings I made for an animation. The team over at YouTube added the final sound design to the animation. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.”




Animation by: @Bewildertv

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Author: Graphis