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How to use motion graphic design effectively in your advertising

B.C. LeDoux

YouTube is the second most popular search engine. Digital video screens are popping up on gas pumps, at grocery store checkouts, in greeting cards, in cars, on shopping carts, in elevators, in mirrors, in our books, above urinals (trust me, ladies, it’s true) and countless other places that will surprise, delight or offend you. We even watch loads of video on our phones (not even Marty McFly saw that one coming). What’s one step past ubiquitous? Obnoxious? Anyway, whatever it is, that’s what video is nowadays. It’s everywhere x 2.

The prominence, and therefore importance, of video cannot be denied. It’s always been an attention-grabbing, powerful and compelling storytelling device, and that truth grows view by view every day. And the growth of delivery methods has led to the need for quicker quality content. When marketers need to populate content so swiftly for optimization, sometimes live-action video is too costly and time intensive.

That’s one reason for the proliferation of motion graphic design, which is essentially the use of 2D and 3D graphics in a moving video environment, whether in a purely graphical world or woven into live-action video. (You see motion design in movie and television show titles, in kinetic type in commercials and online info-graphics, logo animations, video games, web banner animations, etc.) The other reason you see it more and more is the commoditization of desktop software. Powerful programs are affordable and available to more people.

This ever-growing, ever-present need for this type of content, and the sudden affordability of the very dynamic tools, is exactly why we started gmotion, our motion design division, at The Glenn Group.

While before, it was always strictly an outside resource, that we would subcontract for when necessary, we found to keep up and stay nimble in the digital age, we needed to offer it as a legitimate in-house high-quality capability and add a team of extremely talented experts.

We needed the ideas and execution to end their long-distance relationship, take the plunge, move in together and skip around the office holding hands. That very merry relationship makes us more dynamic, efficient and timely when it comes to beautiful, creative video content.

That said, we do not incorporate motion graphics, or motion design principles, into every video we produce. We never let execution guide us. We let the strategy, idea and the medium dictate our execution. If motion graphics can enhance the message or tell the story more completely or grab attention in a more compelling way, we use them. If they end up being a distraction, style for style’s sake, we don’t.

And that’s what we recommend to every marketer. Let the strategic message guide your implementation and execution. If it makes sense and is creatively engaging, use motion graphics. If it’s distracting, don’t. If a technique is overused, avoid it. If a technique seems inventive and attention grabbing, employ it. If a graphic looks like anyone could have created it with the click of a button or two, because someone learned a program but never learned how to design (like so many local [fill in the blank] commercials), please run from it faster than Forrest Gump on three Red Bulls and a PED cocktail.

As the wonderful proliferation of video content continues, use the power of motion design wisely. It’s like “the Force,” or a digital camera for that matter, in the wrong hands it can be used in very ugly ways. In the right hands, however, creatively delivering the right message, it’s a beautiful thing.

(Check out this link that shows examples of how motion graphics works, http://tinyurl.com/clefyzq).

B.C. LeDoux is president, creative director and partner at The Glenn Group. Contact him through theglenngroup.com.


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