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Motion Graphics: A Wake-Up Call for Static Graphics


By Tony Lockhart, Associate Art Director

Motion graphics, not to be confused with animation, is simply animated graphic design. It is the movement of graphic elements that are otherwise displayed as static visuals. A subcategory of animation, motion graphics makes static elements move across the screen to engage the user. 

Motion graphics is used to engage audiences in different ways and in different forms. It helps users learn more about a product or service faster and in a fun way, without reading blocks of text. It guides viewers through a website, tells a story, entices users to click an ad by directing attention, and it can bring your brand to life with a more dynamic experience.

At FWV, we use motion graphics to help our clients better connect with their target audiences. Agency client IDEXX is a global leader in veterinary diagnostics and software. Recent creative work has focused on promoting one particular software offering to the brand’s target audience, veterinarians. We used motion graphics to inform potential customers about the benefits of the software, including that it will help their practices operate more efficiently. Rather than spend 30 minutes reading a brochure, busy veterinarians are quickly able to digest all the important information in just over a minute by watching a short, animated video.

As mentioned earlier, motion graphics can direct viewers’ attention to an ad while they are browsing the web. We recently created a display ad for longtime agency client Pendleton Whisky. As the user scrolls, an ad appears on screen that draws the eyes to the portion of an animated headline depicting different drinks sliding onto the screen, similar to a bartender sliding a mug of beer across the bar. This animation is followed by a call-to-action button that tempts the user to click.

Sometimes, the use of motion graphics is intended to help tell a story, even if the content is no more than a few seconds long. One example of this is adding motion to a brand’s logo at the end of a video, also known as a logo sting. A logo sting is typically used to better communicate what the brand does. For FWV’s film division, Prix Productions, we created a motion graphic animation that starts with a film reel bouncing on the screen. It quickly morphs into a film clipboard and ends with a play” button that is pressed following a glow indicating it is on.” In 6 seconds, the viewer should be left with the takeaway that Prix specializes in films – it’s as simple as that.

While motion graphics has many benefits and can yield positive results, it is also important to approach graphics animation with some restraint. Being too heavy handed with animation can have a negative impact. A helpful list to keep in mind when considering whether the use of motion graphics will enhance the user experience is as follows:

  • Does the motion serve a purpose?
  • How does it benefit the user?
  • Can it be simplified?

Adding motion to graphics is a great way to engage with customers and help them learn about your brand faster and with less work on their end. How can motion graphics help your brand connect with existing and potential customers or better express your brand’s personality?

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