Remember when Instagram was a photo-sharing app, rich with amateur filters and post-production aperture settings? Not anymore, according to Adam Mossori, Instagram’s fearless leader.
The head of the ubiquitous photo-sharing platform stated the biggest oxymoron of the century, noting that the app’s future focus is full-screen algorithm-based video experiences. The average app user might be thinking, “cool.” But, the average graphic designer is probably thinking, “crap.”
Design is a vast discipline, siloed by niche skills. Historically, the art director’s role has differed greatly from that of a digital designer, illustrator, user experience/user interface (UX/UI) designer, and so on. With the growth and evolution of all things digital, these siloes are being torn down, letting the grain and corn fall where they may. The plight of the creative type seems to be how to stay relevant in a perpetually innovative, talent-driven industry.
I’m here to showcase your next fear-driven endeavor: motion design. And, according to some, it’s no longer a designer’s bonus skill — it’s an expectation.
What is motion design?
I have an embarrassing confession: I failed physics class in high school. Technically it was an “incomplete” — nonetheless, I retained nothing. Funny how the mathematics and science I dodged throughout academia now plays into my career. Acceleration, velocity, speed, sine, cosine. In a textbook, it’s terrifying. In After Effects, it’s a fun experiment.
That was a lot of math words, so let’s start with some simple definitions. Toptal defines motion design as, “a unique blend of graphic design, animation, illustration, filmmaking, 3D technology, and digital product design.” Simply put, motion design is storytelling with moving graphics.
Motion design is ubiquitous, with so many uses and applications. Uses range from UX/UI design, digital ads, and social media to music videos, technical explainer videos, and so much more. COVID-19 presented a special opportunity to incorporate animation/motion graphics. While live filming came to a halt, 2D and 3D motion graphics became the primary mode of visual storytelling. And the demand’s here to stay. Motion graphics are cost-effective and efficient, and they look awesome when paired with live footage. The result: exciting emerging trends.
Motion trends in post-pandemia
I must confess, my motion skills are completely self-taught, learning as I go. I’m not saying I’m a trendsetter, but I’m not saying I’m not either. The following are trends I’ve noticed in the B2B industry and beyond:
Whether it’s with a preset or with your own hands, we’re seeing fewer hard cuts and linear wipes, thanks to the increasing incorporation of motion design. Our eyes love to see a smooth-flowing video, something more organic to nature. After all, our eyes don’t ever hard-cut to something in the real world (unless you count blinking, I guess).
My favorite way to incorporate dimension and visual interest to a project — adding texture! We’ve seen it a lot in graphic design and illustration, so it makes sense to animate it. It gives a vector illustration life, bringing something flat and digital closer to a real-world surface. According to these top animation and motion design trends, grain effects help videos “stand out from others and help brands deliver eye-catching visuals to customers.”
In the UX world, motion is a key behavior in the user experience. It tells us when something is loading or when a form has been successfully submitted — motion is communication. Motion feels so right that we hardly notice it until it's missing from a loading screen. Pay attention next time you hop on your favorite meal delivery app.
I’ve noticed an increase in client demand for animated explainer videos. Specifically in regard to agriculture and healthcare. As Toptal notes, “in healthcare and manufacturing, 3D animations illustrate complex processes that are otherwise difficult — or impossible — to perceive with the human eye.” Animation is also a great way to keep employees and customers engaged in what would otherwise be a technical, boring PDF or press release.
Long are the days of static square imagery. Creatives, it’s time to renew your Skillshare subscription and join the 21st century. Interested in an animated explainer for your next product release or a refresh on your landing page’s UI? Learn more about 2RM’s motion design capabilities.