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Motion graphics vs animation: What is the difference?

Animation is an umbrella term for multiple different types of animation. Motion graphics is a style of animation. Or a subgenre of animation, if you will.

Types of Animation:

The main types of animation are: Motion Graphics, 2D animation, 3D animation, character animation (which can come under 2D and 3D), and stop motion animation. Each is its own art form, and require different skills to produce.

What are motion graphics?

Motion graphics, put simply, are graphics in motion. Taking static objects, static typography, or illustrations, and making them move. A motion designer will take something created by a graphic designer, and translate it into an animated video, bringing it to life. Animated graphics can tell a story through the graphic elements, and it gives a brand a level of dynamism and energy that you just don’t get with an entirely static brand.

Can AI make motion graphics?

The short answer is yes. AI can produce motion graphics. More and more programs are being launched every day which can produce motion graphics quickly, easily, and cheaply. A few examples are: Canva, Animaker and Renderforest. The animation industry as a whole is growing every day with the development of these AI tools, but if you look into what kind of things they produce, it’s clear they’re still in their infancy.

To create bespoke, on-brand animations, moving in exactly the way you need your brand to move (watch this recording of our webinar if you’re not sold on the fact that your brand needs sound and motion guidelines), you need to go to a specialist. Motion Design is a complex art form, a branch of graphic design that is still not used by the majority of brands, and is a powerful tool which can really propel your brand to the next level in terms of visuals, and creating engaging content for your website, presentations, and social media content.

Where can motion graphics be used?

Motion graphics an be used in all kinds of environments, from presentations and on websites through to video content, explainer videos and social assets. Having motion graphics in your brand assets gives you the opportunity to add personality and movement to what may have been a previously static brand. Becoming more visually interesting can hold people’s attention, increase engagement, and help tell a story. The use of motion graphics is another way of applying your character and personality to the brand.

For brands which have a character as part of their brand, motion design is a perfect choice to bring the characters to life. From cartoons to claymation, there are so many ways of animating characters, but adding small touches of motion will give the characters personality, and make them feel more realistic, encouraging emotional connection, and a personal touch.

Think about the Duolingo brand, and how the characters are a true part of the journey you go on within the app. Duolingo really value animation, and to continue developing this side of the company, acquired an animation studio to double the headcount of their creative team.

Similarly, the little marshmallow in a recent rebrand by Ragged Edge has been brought to life through motion design. As well as adding personality and making the character feel alive, it triggers different emotions in the user, or the audience.

Motion graphics appeal

If your brand doesn’t have a character, which most don’t, motion graphics can be used in a plethora of ways to create positive emotional connections with the target audience.

Imagine you’re an insurance company, and have some pretty boring processes (no offence, insurance companies). You have two options. List out how you go through a process, step by step. Word by word. Line by line, and page by page.

Option two would be creating a video, going through exactly how it works, in an engaging way. The use of sound and motion can turn something very boring into something with visual appeal, in an easier format for them to consume. It can take abstract concepts and complex services and simplify them, enhancing the user experience and keeping your customers/users/employees happy, because they’re not reading huge chunks of text. It’s also taking them on a journey, as you can use storytelling techniques to guide them through the video.

For the day-to-day, adding some movement to your video content keeps it from getting too tedious. Making static social posts move adds that extra flair that might set you apart from your competitors, too.

Motion graphics vs VFX: What are the differences?

Motion graphics is animating graphics in motion, whilst visual effects (VFX) is manipulating and altering video footage. VFX are used in film and video production to create a visually realistic scene outside the context of regular footage. It’s about taking other live-action footage or CGI to produce something that cannot be achieved through live-action videos alone.


Here are a few examples our motion graphics designers have created for clients in the past, from logo animation to visual storytelling.

If you think motion graphics could be used across your brand, get in touch today.
Let’s talk about how we can bring your brand to life.

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0161 711 0910

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73a Hulme Hall Road,
Cheadle Hulme, Stockport,
Greater Manchester,

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