Creating energy and brand personality with motion

By Edward Hendry

As motion designers, our job is to create engaging videos and animations that communicate our brands’ key messages while reflecting their distinct personalities. To create successful content, we must achieve both the above goals as well as grabbing the attention of the viewer in whatever format required.

There are many hurdles we face to win over the viewer in the fast paced online environment; we may only have a split second to pull them in and even then, there may only be a second more to keep their attention. 

In this article we’re going to take you through some key insights on how we overcome the challenges to inject energy and character into our videos with motion, creating memorable brand experiences both internally and externally.

The characteristics of movement

Effective motion design comes in many forms and styles, but in most situations a key trait of good motion is that it should be as smooth as possible. This means complex transitions between scenes going unnoticed by the viewer and the content flowing harmoniously with the music while perfectly matching the graphics. While this is the general goal, when thoughtfully combined with techniques to enhance the distinct design assets of a brand, this is when the magic really begins.

One approach could be using cartoony, bouncy and exaggerated motion to create a light-hearted and comical feel. For example, when we turned the Nordics pink with the new foodora branding, the graphics were based around stylised sticker visuals and the simplified illustrations lent themselves perfectly to an exaggerated motion style. In combination with the witty, fun storytelling of the videos, this complemented the relevant, confident, relatable and consistent tone of voice.

Meanwhile fast, sharp and short motion gives a sense of speed and urgency. This, when contrasted with smooth motion, can help keep viewers’ eyes on the video. It’s especially important to implement in longer videos, where a mix of pacing is essential to maintain the audience’s attention. It can also help to tell the story and communicate the emotions we want the viewer to feel.

Above we can see the contrast between the smooth motion while mixing the sauce and the sharp jarring movements after the salt is spilled.

While below, the contrast of fast text and slower video sections keeps your attention on the video and gives time for each section to be digested and understood.

However, all motion – whatever the personality of the video – should reference reality. What we mean by this is that all motion should mirror (or exaggerate) the movement of something in real life. For example, large heavy objects are hard to move, accelerate slowly and are hard to stop. In contrast, small light objects accelerate quickly, are easy to be pushed around and even bounce or float; when executed in this way, motion appears more natural and fluid.

Leading the eye

As well as providing a stylised appearance appropriate to the brand, it is important to ensure the audience understands everything that is being communicated to them on screen. In a fast 6 second video, this might mean a lot of information is being directed towards the viewer in a short amount of time. Therefore, we need to ensure their focus is on the correct part of the screen to receive the information we want them to absorb.

For example, if there is a lot of text appearing from seemingly random places over the screen, the viewer is not sure where the next piece of information is coming from, so they are likely to miss something important. This is vital in short formats, where we have such a limited amount of time to communicate our message. 

So, how is this done? We can give hints to where the next piece of information is going to come from with a number of techniques. Let’s touch upon a few methods:

1. We can simply display the next piece of information on the screen in the same position as the previous piece text; this ensures the viewer’s eye will already be in the right place.

2. We can give hints as to where the natural flow of motion is going, so the eye can predict the next piece of information, making it easier to digest the information quickly. In the HungerStation rebrand launch video, you can see the lines are giving a hint to where the next piece of text is coming from.

3. Another technique is to use a single “hero element” that guides the eye through the video, moving towards the next piece of text or key part of the animation. This can be one element that is moving faster than the others, moving with a higher energy or maybe it is just simply an element that is brighter than the others. In this example, we can see the fast green lines ensure your eyes are in the right place for each of the letter animations.

Creating momentum

Maintaining the momentum of a video can be a somewhat overlooked aspect of a video; it can be the one thing that goes unnoticed, but helps tie the entire story together. It creates crucial energy, making the brand feel more alive and making the viewer excited about what they are seeing and the product promoted. A video without momentum can seem like separate scenes stuck together and upon each new scene, visual energy is lost, leading to a slower, less emotionally vibrant and exciting video. In some cases, it can even lead to a jarring experience. 

When momentum is used correctly, in combination with careful attention to where you are leading the eye you are able to push a greater amount of information in a shorter amount of time – while clearly conveying the personality associated with the brand or message. 

Let’s take a look how you can create momentum in your videos:

1. One rule is to never stop the movement on screen; at every point there should be some sort of movement that is leading to the next. Creating motion this way helps audiences anticipate where the next piece of information is coming from, making the whole video easier to read.

2. Another method following in similar footsteps as attracting the user’s eye is implementing a type of motion to link sections together. For example, one piece of text to the next; this could be as simple as something like text that jumps up, is followed by another piece of text that falls down. With each new scene in this Contact free concept we can see that the motion is followed through from the previous scene, while making the otherwise sharp cuts into smoother transitions.

When combined in a considered and structured manner, the aspects discussed throughout this article are a great start to creating memorable brand experiences with video content. However, it is always important to consider the needs of the brand and the video first – only when this is fully understood, should the most fitting characteristics of motion be selected.

We then must remember to keep the eye focussed in the correct place to be able to create smooth and easily digestible content, especially when the video is shorter in length. And finally, we should tie it all together with momentum that flows through the whole video, creating energetic and emotionally vibrant videos that excite and engage the viewer.

Thanks for reading, and we hope going forward that you will now watch and appreciate motion content in a whole new way!