The 'What?' and 'Why?' of Motion Graphics in Your Video

Sound and video go hand in hand. Poor sound quality can make the best video unbearable to watch, and the same can be true with motion graphics. You may be thinking, “if static text does the job of presenting information to the viewer, then why would I want that text to be moving and bouncing across the screen?" While partly true that static text elements achieve that basic job, motion graphics on the other hand are more than just moving words and shapes. Animated words and shapes convey a sense of character, mood and emotion that can enhance and enrich the content it’s supporting. For example, words and shapes shouldn’t jump into frame in a cartoonish way when your message is supposed to be serious and sincere, as these types of poor motion graphics decisions can ruin an excellent video and fail to convey the intended message.

Before I go further let me clarify what motion graphics, or motion design, is. In its simplest form, motion graphics are just moving words or shapes. Adding animated names, titles and credits to videos are a form of motion graphics. Having the title of your video appear on a black screen in all capitals would work, but it would certainly be a boring option. The title is the first thing someone sees and can determine whether they goes on to watch the rest of your video. There is even a website called which showcases some of the best designed titles for movies, shows and other projects. Star Trek Discovery, which can be seen here on Art of the Title, is a great example of a well-designed title sequence. It draws the viewer in and sets the mood for what is to come. This gets them more excited moving forward, and this excitement leads to a greater focus on what they are watching. It would be like having a cardboard sign taped to a window outside of your business. It will take a lot more for people to trust your company if you’re using sharpie and cardboard as your sign.

This may seem a bit extreme, but do you really want people to watch your video only for them to forget everything except the boring title or the lazy animation? You can shoot the best video, but it may still not be enough to carry the weight of poorly made motion graphics. Animation is the illusion of creating life and emotion. Evoking the wrong type of emotion can throw the audience into a totally different state of mind. This is the last thing you want when trying to get your message across because this sudden change in emotion can derail their train of thought, or even worse, cause them to stop watching your video.

Flip Flop by Eddie Lobanovskiy

Flip Flop by Eddie Lobanovskiy

To prevent this from happening, there needs to be intention behind every motion graphic element that is added to a video. The design needs to be inline with the style of the video and it also needs to fit with the message the video is trying to send. A somber message should have soft subtle animations to really emphasize the mood, and if the message is exciting the animations should be energetic to help drive it home. The example above this paragraph is a perfect representation of motion graphics conveying a feeling. You can feel the flip and flop of the “O” which gives the words an even greater impact. Motion graphics aren’t just moving words or shapes, they are characters added to help sell your story.