You’ve seen them before. They’re those little animated graphics that often appear in the corner of a video, or during a commercial break. If you’ve done any research on animation, you might’ve seen the phrase “motion graphics.” But what are motion graphics? And how can you use them in your marketing campaigns?

In this post, we’ll take a look at motion graphics, their history, and how you can use them to add some flavor to your marketing mix.


Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Motion graphics are in the same realm as typography animation. In other words, motion graphics describe a type of animation used to liven up an object or text. Think of your typical graphic design: a company logo, a website header, or even a title screen. Now think of that very thing being animated. Perhaps the letters are moving around, or maybe there’s just a bit of sparkle or color-changing elements. Animation like this is what defines motion graphics. 

While motion graphics are often composed of text, they can also include other elements such as shapes, images, or video footage. You can find these graphics in television or film productions as well as digital advertising and marketing campaigns. In a nutshell, motion graphics are the lovechild of graphic design and animation. 

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How Does This Differ From Animation?

Courtesy of 20th Television Animation

When most people think of animation, they think of cartoons like The Simpsons or Mickey Mouse. While motion graphics can certainly be used to create those kinds of animations, they are not limited to that style. 

Unlike traditional animation, which has to be created frame-by-frame, artists usually create these graphics by using a placeholder text. This text is edited and rearranged to create different looks and feels. While traditional animation takes up a chunk of the project, artists use motion graphics more as a tool to add a touch of style to said project. 

Animation is an umbrella term with an extremely long history. It encompasses so many things, from 3D, to stop motion, to rotoscope. Motion graphics are just one of the many things that animation branches off into. While all motion graphics are an example of animation, not all animation can be called motion graphics.

How Did Motion Graphics Get Their Start?

Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

As you’ve probably gathered, this animation style has its roots in both traditional animation and graphic design. We can find early examples of these graphics in title sequences from the 1950s and 1960s. This includes the opening credits from Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove. By the 1970s, motion graphics had expanded to appear in TV commercials and educational films, as well as music videos. It wasn’t until the 1980s and 1990s that animators would use these graphics extensively in television broadcasts and feature films.

Uses For Motion Graphics

Courtesy of Google

Motion graphics are often used to create short, concise videos and clips that are easy to digest. Animators can use them for a small project, or include them in a much larger project. 

So, how can you use motion graphics in your own marketing campaigns? Lucky for you, there are endless possibilities. Here are just a few examples: 

  • You can add an animated logo to your website or your social media channel. 
  • You can design an eye-catching infographic. 
  • It can be used to create an explanatory video for your product or service 
  • You can animate additional visualizations, making everything more engaging. 
  • You can create short social media ads.
  • It can be used in GIF marketing. 
  • You can make your email newsletters more visually appealing.

Of course, these are just a few ideas. The sky is the limit when it comes to how you can use these graphics to promote your business.

Skills Needed

There are several important skills that an animator will need in order to create motion graphics:

Creativity: Even if they’re working under someone else’s direction, animators may still have to come up with original ideas for animations. These graphics should capture attention and communicate the message effectively. 

Technical Skills: When creating these graphics, artists must know how to use animation software such as After Effects, Photoshop, or Blender to achieve their vision. 

Artistic ability: You should be able to translate your ideas into visually appealing designs.

Patience: This is probably the most underrated skill listed here. Animating takes time! Being able to see your project through from start to finish is essential for creating successful motion graphics.  

When to Use Other Types of Animation

From Ariana Grande via YouTube

You may be unsure whether motion graphics are even appropriate for your project. It can be a bit confusing sometimes, especially when there are multiple subsets of animation. 

A general rule of thumb to follow is that we use motion graphics for animations that primarily involve text or communication. If you’re looking to tell a story, connect emotionally with your audience, or to convey a complex message, then it’s best to explore other avenues. To learn more, I suggest checking out our blog post on the different types of animation.

What Are Motion Graphics?: Conclusion

We use the tool of motion graphics in a variety of ways. They add visual interest to your marketing materials. If you’re looking for a way to make your website, social media posts, or videos stand out from the crowd, consider adding some beautifully animated elements courtesy of motion graphics.