As a motion graphic designer who works on animation videos, our Jay Baulch is frustrated.
Fed up with ukulele soundtracks, whiteboard animations and mundane hooks, he sees nothing but wasted potential and a final outcome that rarely achieves its goal.
Animation can tell your advertising story in a way that nothing else can – just ask John Lewis about The Bear and The Hare, or Kellogg’s about Tony.
And as we all support the national effort to stay at home, animation can now go where traditional video production can’t.
So, as we look to animation, motion graphics, CGI and illustration to tell our brand stories, Jay takes you through the key stages of ensuring your animation is a storytelling success.
1) Research & Strategy Development
This can never be overlooked when building any piece of creative. It influences all future decisions around your video, such as design and scriptwriting.
I begin all animations by immersing myself within your brand, picking out key imagery, iconography and looking into your target audience and tone of voice. It allows me the opportunity to get a sense of how your brand can translate into an animation.
Many corporate animations gloss over this stage, focusing purely on the final product which generally results in whiteboard animations that lack direction. It’s confusing for your audience to be creating content that doesn’t feel as if it belongs uniquely to your business.
2) Copywriting & Concepting
Once the research is done, you must always follow up with a script; you need to hone the messaging you want to convey.
Quite simply, if you can’t fit your story into less than 300 words – i.e. a 2-minute script – then you’re off to a bad start. Always think of it from the viewer’s perspective, would you want to sit through a sales pitch for much longer?
If you’re struggling to trim your script then, quite simply, your video is trying to achieve too much. Should your messages be split into topics, delivering across a series of videos?
3) Storyboarding and Style-frames
It’s all well and good having great design ideas in your head, it’s much better when they’re down on paper and can be referred back to by everyone involved. The storyboards contain animation directions while the style frames will contain illustrated key moments.
Animation is true creative freedom. You can depict anything via animation – new stories, new characters, new worlds! This opportunity is mega – but a proper storyboard will make sure everyone is working in the same world when producing.
We now have everything we need to create your perfect video.
4) Sign off
Does the toilet roll go under or over? Is it pronounced gif or jif? Is the dress blue and black or white and gold? Everybody has an opinion on everything and that’s why designing by committee is the biggest hindrance to creating a successful animation.
Sign off from everybody involved at this stage is crucial.
It sets in stone the overall outcome of your video and frees the designers and animators to focus on how to bring their storyboards and words to life.
If anything is changed after sign off, you risk incoherent story and mixed messaging.
I was once commissioned to create an animation for a company whose brand colours were shades of red. Once the video was finished and was circulated, a member of staff at the company took issue with red being used and asked for it to be swapped out. The reason? Red was their least favourite colour.
A decision like that can be detrimental to a video – confusing viewers and your brand’s ability to express itself.
If these steps are followed correctly then not only will your final product be more effective, but it will require less maintenance by you.
Entrust the steps and opinions your animation team provide. We’re here to be an extension of your team and your success is also our success! We love it when a plan comes together.
Just like it did for this lot we worked with:
Jay works at our S3 Advertising agency HQ most of the time but is animating from home for our clients for now. If you agree with his tips, disagree, or have any questions on animation in general, feel free to contact Jay at firstname.lastname@example.org.