By Michelle Barnett
07/12/2016
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Animation in Design

Animation is a growing force in the realms of marketing and promotion. With new technology and faster internet speeds making it possible to stream high quality graphics to your phone wherever you are, it’s become easier than ever to talk to your customers this way. And it’s effective too.

Studies suggest that 70% of people view brands more favourable after watching interesting video content (the key word here being ‘interesting’!)  But what makes animations such a great tool? And more importantly, how can you make the best use of it?

The Speed Factor

Impact speed is one of the biggest players in getting your message noticed online. With web pages loading in seconds, and attention spans notoriously shortening, especially for those who browse on their phones, you may only have a few moments to capture your audience. The immediate advantage of a well paced animation is that the visuals are constantly changing, keeping your viewers hooked.

It’s also true that shorter videos are more effective. Your average TV advert is about 30 seconds long, and a more lengthy ‘Explainer’ video rarely exceeds a few minutes. This forces you to cut the chit chat and get straight to the point about why your service is the best on the market, which can be as helpful an exercise for you as the video is for your customer!

Multi-level Engagement in Animation

The combination of images, words and sounds grabs viewers on multiple levels, helping to keep them occupied. Using images and audio alongside your written content allows your brand to reach out with immediacy to those who wouldn’t normally stick around to read a paragraph about your core values. The personality of your company can be put across in just a few moments; in the choice of music or voiceover just as much as the visual style. This punchy little ad from Spotify is mostly words, but effectively utilises a great jazz number for it’s soundtrack. The straightforward written information is timed to complement the beat, while keeping the characters quirky and fun.

Making the hard stuff easy

Many of the most watched animations are ‘How To’ or ‘Process’ videos. Being able to see a simplified version of a real-life process is hugely helpful, while a voiceover can deliver the extra detail around what’s happening. I delved into these myself when I was learning how to knit – I just couldn’t work out how to Cast On from a series of still images, so I turned to the world of video to explain it to me. Slooooowly.

Fun animated movies have been used to explain complicated scientific or economic concepts and make them not just understandable but downright interesting to the average Joe. Other groups have even used them to accompany audio recordings of lectures, keeping their listeners focussed on the topic. Obviously your product is way more interesting than a lecture on politics, but if you feel like people struggle to understand what you do, or can’t see how you’d be relevant to them, walking them through it step-by-step can make everything much more accessible.

Here’s a video from CrazyEggs giving potential users a preview of the analytics tool, allowing them to see how they’ll actually apply it in real life.

This Ted-Ed clip is about the fairly dry subjects of grammar and maths, but adding visuals breaks up the explanation into easily digestible chunks that viewers can take in.

The sky is no longer the limit

Most phones these days contain a video camera, and people love posting clips of their escapades online, but of course these live-action videos are restricted purely to what’s happening in the real world. Animation has no such restrictions. If you feel that the best way to advertise your new range of umbrellas is to show a flamingo using one as a prop during a tap-dance performance on the Moon, wearing top hat and spats… No problem! Animation doesn’t need to worry about boring words like “possible” and “realistic” – you can just come up with the concept that most suits your brand.

The best part is that it doesn’t have to be a hugely complicated enterprise. Most of us might think of animation and have ideas of something akin to James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’, but often it’s the straightforward and striking that have the biggest impact on people. This neat little video on the Fermi Paradox deals with the big subject of outer space but balances that weight by keeping it’s visual style simple and relatable.

Having given you this information, you may be wondering why we didn’t just summarise all this into a nifty video with bright, engaging visuals and a chirpy music track.  Well…  we did! And if you want some more information on how we’d go about creating an animation for your brand, our downloadable guide is available here.

 

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