In the upcoming series, Esther Park, Senior Motion Graphics Designer, will help you understand what motion graphics is, the role of the motion graphics designer and how to work with them to achieve the best outcome.
In a world of rapidly advancing technology, our attention spans have gotten shorter than ever and we really don’t have the patience for anything. We even get our lunches delivered because we can’t afford to waste time driving to a restaurant and waiting in line–all in the middle of massive amount of work due at the end of the day. And what about meetings? No one wants to sit through a 50-page PowerPoint deck and a two hour presentation–least of all clients.
So, what can you do to get your pitch across without making people’s eyes glaze over with boredom? The answer is simple: video! Not one of those blockbuster movie trailers, but a well-thought-out, narrative-driven motion graphics video.
But first, what is motion graphics?
Simply put, motion graphics is a combination of traditional graphic design and animation/filmmaking. By utilizing well composed graphic design elements and applying animation principles, designers are able to tell a story or communicate an idea to much greater effect. Not long ago, graphic design focused on static formats such as posters, books and flyers. The beginnings of the field are a bit obscure, but as technology started to develop, and moving pictures (cinema) was introduced, motion graphics was formed.
One of the most notable early pioneers was Saul Bass. Traditionally, movie credits were a dreary list of names. Bass’ technique of bringing life to title sequences became essential to the cinematic experience even to this day. You can watch the compilation of Saul Bass’ title sequences here.
Some of his most notable movie titles, which you may recognize:
Why is motion so important?
Today, motion graphics has extended its capabilities far more than anyone could ever have imagined. It has been implemented in almost every aspect of our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. If you take a closer look, you’ll find them on web and mobile apps, television shows, sports networks, movies, commercials, VR and spatial design/experience.
Motion designers are, by nature, compelling storytellers and problem solvers. We use captivating narratives to convey an emotion or unravel a complex analysis into a comprehensive story. Since the beginning of human history, stories have always been a primal form of sharing and remembering information.
Do you still remember something your parents or teacher said when you were ten years old? If so, that’s probably because it had an emotional impact on you–you were either daunted or delighted by what they said! In the same manner, people are able to retain more information and for longer if it’s delivered in a form they can connect with and is reinforced through relevant experiences. And this is why motion graphics is such a powerful tool!
There are many categories within the field of Motion Graphics, all of which are fundamentally based on storytelling:
Motion Graphics Categories
- Explainer video: Turns complex processes or concepts into a clear, concise story or idea
- Product Marketing: A story about the product, communicating the value proposition to the user audience
- UI (mobile and web) animations: Helps inform how UI design could work in a product (prototype)
- Logo and Icon animations: Gives life and personality to brand logos and icons
- Short films (story driven): Short story expressed with graphic design elements
- Movie titles: Opening credits that help set the tone of the movie
- Presentations: Makes engaging presentation slides
- Infographics: Creates visual hierarchy from complex data allowing viewers to easily digest important information
- Broadcast graphics: Branded graphics used to communicate information shown in news, sports and tv shows
- AR/VR: Creates immersive/interactive virtual worlds for AR/VR platforms
Whether it be a simple animation such as a logo or even visualizing complex statistical data, they are all driven by a story that gives life–personality and purpose–to a static object. A story doesn’t always need to have a plot and characters, but it must provoke feelings, thoughts and curiosity, which, in itself is a form of storytelling. Motion graphics can also enhance the user experience of navigating and comprehending a digital product.
With the power of understanding the physics of real life objects such as gravity and friction, motion designers are able to apply them to the user experience so that it is seamless and smooth without feeling disconnected.
What if you have an app that has beautiful UI but every button you tap has an abrupt cut to the next page or a constant fade in/out? It wouldn’t be the best UX without the delightful animations, which gives purpose to the UI materials and guide users to navigate to the right path.
Or, when you watch a new Hollywood movie with its stunning VFX, it’s so well blended that the unbelievable becomes believable. If it wasn’t for the seamlessness, it would totally throw you off, thinking of the letters W, T, and F in your mind and the overall experience of the movie would be not as good as it could have been.
At BCG Digital Ventures, motion and storytelling are essential to our venture building process. No digital product is simple on its own; it needs human centered and strategic means to deliver the vision, functionalities and value our teams can create. In this way, the motion team at DV works with venture teams to help share their visions with the client in the most effective and appealing way.
Stay tuned for the next installation of our Motion 101 series, where we will discuss how motion graphics can leverage venture work and basic motion graphics terminologies.