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The Role Of Animation & Graphics In Explainer Videos

The Role Of Animation Graphics In Explainer Videos

Explainer videos are an extremely effective way for businesses to quickly communicate key information, ideas, products, or services. Custom animation and graphics gives explainer videos that compelling edge – making them one of the most versatile content formats for brands looking to explain, convince and engage. Compared to printed materials alone, explainer videos with compelling custom animation can:

  • Boost engagement: Viewers stay captivated when strong visuals accompany narration rather than just words on the screen.
  • Increase understanding: Animation’s storytelling capacity lets people grasp difficult topics more easily through simplified metaphors and examples. Studies show we process visual data 60,000 times faster than text.
  • Improve memory: The combination of auditory and visual content together heightens information retention according to research.
  • Prompt action-taking: Viewers love sharing intriguing animations. By increasing social shares, explainer videos multiply the number of people taking your preferred actions after watching.

Animation Brings Explainer Videos to Life

Unlike live action videos, animated explainer videos allow you to simplify complex concepts, demonstrate processes, and bring visual metaphors to life. With the right animation studio, you can make your explainer videos more memorable.

What Makes Great Explainer Video Animation?

Animation is not just about having impressive visuals. The animation in explainer videos serves a specific purpose – to clarify, educate and inspire your audience. Great explainer video animation does this by:

  • Supporting a clear narrative – The visuals move the story along and reinforce the core message, rather than just dazzle the viewer.
  • Simplifying the complex – With animation, explainer videos can turn abstract concepts and data into easy-to-grasp visual representations.
  • Directing attention – Animations can highlight important points and zoom in on product features more effectively than live footage.
  • Being engaging – A strong visual style makes the content appealing and keeps viewers interested by introducing an element of novelty.

Choosing the Right Animation Style For Explainer Videos

Explainer videos can utilise different animation styles to convey information and messages effectively. When deciding on an animation style, the most important factors to consider are the content, goals, target audience and overall context for the video.

Hand-Drawn and Doodle Style

Featuring a seemingly handcrafted, sketchy aesthetic, this style can come across as casual and approachable versus slick computer animations. The quirky drawings also add a dose of charm and personality. The scribbled lines and casual vibe of hand-drawn animations creates the feeling that someone created the video just for you. Brands that want to come across as more personable tend to favour this style for their explainer video. It’s well-suited for:

  • Products or services targeting consumers directly
  • Presentations of complex subjects
  • Storytelling taking a first-person perspective

2D Flat Animation For Explainer Videos

With its clean lines, blocks of colour and two-dimensional look, flat animation adopts a pared back, minimalist style devoid of heavy textures. Its graphic-style makes it ideal for clearly breaking down intricate ideas or processes for explainer videos. The highly visual and orderly nature of 2D flat animations allows complex information to be structured into easy-to-digest formats. Its versatility also makes it one of the most common animation styles used in explainer videos today. Key uses include:

  • Software or app tutorials and demos
  • Step-by-step procedures or workflows
  • Technical concepts or data visualisations

Whiteboard Animation For Explainer Videos

This style makes it seem as though someone is spontaneously drawing and sketching ideas out on a whiteboard. It captures the experience of having a concept hand-illustrated in real-time. Whiteboard animations lend a human touch and sense of authenticity to explainer videos. Viewers feel they’re right there in the room where interesting ideas are springing to life before their eyes. The informal quality makes it great for narrative-based videos. Key applications include:

  • Business presentations
  • Educational tutorials
  • Video sales letters

Stop Motion Animation

Instead of drawings, this style uses physical objects and photographs them frame-by-frame to create the video. This makes the objects seem to move on their own. Its tangibility makes it seem believable while the novelty captivates viewer attention. The frame-by-frame method also allows for highlighting specific features or interactions.It’s a versatile style but especially effective for:

  • Demonstrating product capabilities
  • Explaining mechanical processes
  • Capturing attention with a novel approach

3D Animation

3D computer animation creates fully rendered and shaded 3D environments and characters that look almost real. Advanced physics, chemistry or astronomy explainer videos often leverage 3D animation’s capacity to model environments difficult to visualise. It makes explainer videos a highly cinematic viewing experience. This immersive style helps:

  • Present abstract ideas in concrete settings
  • Depict processes that happen at size/scale impossible to capture on film
  • Visualise concepts that a 2D image cannot adequately express

Role Of Graphics in Explainer Videos

When high quality graphics are properly aligned to a well-written script, an explainer video can enhance comprehension and recall. Whether it’s kinetic typography, 2D illustrations, animations, or even live footage, the graphical elements selected for an animated explainer video carry the responsibility of translating complex topics into easily digestible content.

Simplifying Complex Concepts

One of the core purposes of explainer videos is to simplify complex ideas through engaging graphics. Instead of lengthy paragraphs or technical descriptions, concepts are broken down using colourful imagery, shapes, text, icons, and other visual metaphors that help audiences understand the subject matter more intuitively.

Graphical elements like transitions, movement, transformations, and temporal effects guide the audience’s eyes across the screen in sync with the narration so that both visual and auditory channels work together.

Establishing Brand Identity

In addition to simplifying complex topics, the graphics implemented in an animated explainer video are a visible representation of a company’s unique identity. Elements like logo integration, font usage, stylistic choices, colour themes, imagery, and motion effects allow brands to infuse their unique personality into the explainer video. This helps strengthen brand association in viewers’ minds for stronger recollection and engagement.

Driving Audience Engagement

Without compelling graphics integrated from start to finish, even the greatest script recited by the smoothest voiceover talent may struggle to retain viewer attention or inspire viewers to take action.
By artfully incorporating graphics that speak to viewers’ innate sensibilities, explainer videos can deliver information in a more engaging, enjoyable format vs relying on words alone. Some stimulating graphic techniques used by animation and graphics studio include:

  • Kinetic typography – stylised animated text that moves playfully to reinforce key talking points.
  • High-contrast shapes and illustrations – High contrast imagery pops against neutral backgrounds and focuses viewer attention.
  • Transitions and reveals – graphics that slide, scale, rotate, transform between scenes offer visual dynamism.
  • Infographics and visual data – charts, graphs, numbers getting visualised dynamically boost engagement and recall.

Which Graphics Style Works Best?

While almost any graphic approach can be leveraged, as long as it’s executed well, research generally shows certain styles tend to outperform others based on audience type and subject matter. When deciding which graphic direction makes sense for conveying your company’s explainer video content, key factors to consider include:

Audience Demographic

Younger audiences may appreciate a lively cartoon style, while corporate Shareholders like a more serious CGI approach better. What graphics will your target demographic best respond to?

Message Seriousness

A moderate dose of humour through graphics is great for engagement, but not if you’re communicating sensitive subject matter like financial services or healthcare procedures requiring gravitas.

Brand Alignment

As described earlier, graphic style should align to existing brand identity wherever possible. Graphics should feel intuitive to viewers who know the company.

Production Budget

Photorealistic 3D content and intricate multi-scene animation require larger budgets compared to simpler graphical approaches of illustrated 2D elements.


Detailed graphics and complex animated sequences also require more production time versus simpler graphical content that can be turned around quicker.

When weighing options, the best approach is to take both data-driven decisions like audience preferences and implicit factors like brand identity into account. This helps explainer video studios land on graphic styles tailored to communicate messages effectively.

Real-World Examples of Engaging Graphics in Explainer Videos

Dropbox – The file hosting platform produces multiple explainers educating users about product capabilities using friendly illustrated characters, boxes/folders, progress bars, and rotating 3D cloud graphics set to upbeat background music. These videos capture viewer attention while communicating technical details.

Slack – The corporate messaging app explains features through clever office metaphors, illustrated characters tied to target user personas, and motion graphics emulating desktop/mobile UI interactions. The polished visuals align closely to Slack’s brand identity.

Both companies rely on graphics and animation in their explainer videos not only to clarify product utility, but also reinforce branding elements for stronger recall.