How to Create Motion Graphics

Posted on December 21, 2018 | Updated on July 14, 2021

Motion graphics, also known as animated visuals, increased in popularity over the last few years and made their way into nearly every element of design work. The increasing demand for videos drives this trend.

Experts predict that by 2021, about 82 percent of online consumer traffic will be video viewing. We live in a world with ever-increasing visuals and augmented reality (AR). Expect the trend of motion graphics not only to continue but expand in the coming years.

Make your designs trendy by incorporating motion graphics into other elements of your design repertoire. Here are some ways to create your own motion graphics:

1. Write the Story

When you set graphics in motion, you’re telling a story through images. Before you start any type of design work, write out the story, complete with beginning, middle and end.

Around 85 percent of people on Facebook view videos without the sound on. Since a mere 15 percent listen to the video, the images become even more vital. Think about how the story plays out through your motion graphics without any words added. Does everything make sense just from the images? Add captions if anything seems unclear or you want a point driven home.

2. Use Bright Colors

Motion graphics have a cartoonlike quality to them that draw the eye and add a fun element to the overall design. Using bright colors brings in another layer of lightheartedness. In addition to the fun nature of motion graphics, bright colors draw the user’s eye and offer a break from neutral elements in the design.

Nickelodeon’s Kids Pick the President video uses motion graphics to teach children about the U.S. election process. The footage shows brightly colored animations that walk one through placing a vote, the president moving into the White House and fundamental elements of elections. It’s an age-appropriate video for the audience Nick reaches.

3. Use a Storyboard

Hollywood traditionally uses storyboards to create a storyline for movies and television shows. However, a storyboard works well for a video, too. It shows you where holes reside in your story and allows you to think through each element of the motions so everything flows smoothly.

Use a storyboard for adding in additional story elements. Storyboards work both before creating graphics or during the editing process.

4. Speed up the Video for Fluidity

One aspect of motion graphics is a fluid design where one element seems to morph into another almost from liquid to semisolid form. However, if you set the video speed too slow on this type of fluidity, it looks sluggish rather than seamless. Instead, make sure you speed the video up since the human brain has mere milliseconds for interpreting the visual before it moves into something new.

This Nike video features the Air Max 2017 shoe. Animated graphics morph and change from wisps of smoke into the shape of a shoe. Note how rapidly the images change, giving the user an impression of constant motion and energy. The images in this video are a bit more muted in tone, but the overall effect works well in introducing the shoe and how well it works for active people.

5. Use Software

The easiest way to come up with motion graphics is by using software designed explicitly for that purpose. Sure, you can use whatever program came installed on your computer, but you’re going to be severely limited in special effects. Instead, look at some of the popular choices, such as:

  • Adobe After Effects
  • Cinema 4D
  • Adobe Spark Video
  • Lightwave 3D

There are also some online providers that allow for free creation on animated videos, such as:

  • com
  • com
  • PowToon

The best software is the one most natural for you to use. Each brand offers different elements, but all provide a similar result.

6. Educate the Public

If your brand offers a unique item or something a bit complex, use motion graphics to explain what it is in a way the consumer understands. For some brands, half the marketing battle is users understanding the item and its uses. An animated video explains in easily digestible images and stays with the reader.

The Anatomy of a Computer Virus video educates the public about how rapidly one can spread and offers specifics on the Stuxnet virus. The virus was a bit unusual, and the graphics show how it differs and why it was effective.

7. Hire a Company

If the process of creating an animated video seems more complicated than you’d like, there are companies creating videos for other businesses. The cost of an animated video adds up, though, so if you’re on a tight budget, invest in a shorter video at first until you see how effective it is for you or your clients. Ideally, the return on investment (ROI) of a video more than pays for the cost of creation.

8. Create a Motion Logo

Draw attention to a site’s logo by adding motion elements. The logo might waver into place, come in on a gradient or slide in from the side. Animated elements grab the user’s attention and enhance your branding efforts. Anything making a brand more recognizable to consumers adds value to a company.

Experts feel Google’s in-motion logo signifies the future of logo design. As more people access the internet via their mobile devices, expect design work to tie into the high value of entertainment and capture attention through motion graphics. Note how the bright colors grab the eye and then simple dots or dashes morph into the letter G or the word Google.

9. Think Through Transitions

The way you transition from one element of your design to the next makes a difference in the overall effectiveness of your design. Think about the way elements naturally move and flow. If things begin to spin in a circle, how do they stop spinning, so it makes sense to the human eye?

Don’t create a confusing scenario that throws viewers out of the video, but think through the way people view the screen and make the story flow.

Get Creative

Although there are some basic rules to motion graphics, such as using transitions and appropriate pacing of elements, the platform still provides a fresh approach that allows for creativity. Step out of the box and try something new and startling. You can always revamp the graphics if they don’t work, but you might discover something that speaks to viewers and improves your company’s bottom line.

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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