“Design is like a science experiment”



Animade’s “Party Pooper” // motionographer.com

I really enjoyed reading the first chapter of the book Animated Storytelling. As someone who has never made a motion graphic and has only stuck to print design thus far, the introduction to the book made the process sound completely doable. Animated story telling is broken down into three questions:

  • What is it?
  • What does it look like?
  • What is it made of?

The first step to creating an animation is concept development, meaning the purpose of your animation and what it means. From there, you should create a creative brief which is the client’s aims and objectives of the projects, which will include the due dates for your milestones.

The next part I will discuss was one of my favorite parts of this chapter. It is first necessary to define the “big idea” of the project, meaning what you are truly trying to get across to your viewers. After that, take 15-30 minutes to write down everything you know about your idea, the good and the bad. I really liked this part of the process because you can apply this to all of design not just animation. I think often I have an issue with coming up with concepts and finding inspiration to represent my ideas for any part of design and I believe this way could be very effective, by literally emptying your mind of all knowledge of the idea.


As viewers your brain wants to find connections to the characters you watch and find resolutions to the conflicts in the stories. To determine what kind of connection you want to make, it is necessary to determine the tone of the piece or in other words how you want to leave your viewers feeling. Design an elevator pitch to determine why your idea is worth hearing.

Following that, define your plot in a few sentences and within your plot should be the theme or message. Once you do that, create a tagline for your project which will help become a guide for your project by providing knowledge of your plot. However, be careful with this and remember to place clarity over cleverness. You’re viewers are better off understanding the tagline and its connection to the plot than having a tagline that sounds interesting or catchy.

Once you understand your storyline then comes the previsualization stage, meaning visual development. In this stage you will consider the question “what do I want my project to look and feel?” This is the part when you should be seeking out good references to help you form an idea of what you would like your animation to look like, especially if you don’t have a sense of where you want to go with design. My favorite line of the chapter was “design is like a science experiment.” Its all about what works and what doesn’t and reformulating design, tagline, plot, etc. Throughout your design process you will have to go back and alter things as new problems and ideas arise. The job is to use design to impact your story and use it to help support your message.


pg. 13 of Animated Storytelling

As you can see, Animated Storytelling, very clearly breaks down the process of animation in the pre-production phase and I clearly understand where to begin as far as the process.

Chapter one of Motion Graphic Design explain more of the history side of animation and less of how to actually do it. From the beginning of time, we’ve tried to combine motion with art. It began more prevalent in the 1900s to the 1920s with small films and took a turn with Len Lye who was an “artist of the 21st century” aiming to create camera-less animation with paint and scratching onto millimeter celluloid. From there animation was furthered with Mary Ellen Brute‘s kinetic art with everyday objects. In the 1960s people began using collage, hand-drawn, live action, film loops, and computer-generated graphics which brings us to what we use today to create motion graphics.


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