As screens, projections and augmented experiences continue to permeate every aspect of our lives, the skills required by designers are further blurring.
There is an ever-increasing need for designers to understand how to design for motion. This shouldn't be seen as a concern but a great opportunity to adapt, develop our knowledge and explore all the possibilities it offers.
Motion in branding is nothing new but it's becoming much more common to see it being used as part of the big idea as opposed to simply bringing a 2D logo to life with animation for an ident or sting. Over the last few months there have been a few great examples of this:
01. Netflix (opens in new tab)
The new Netflix identity created by Gretel centres around a simple, but brilliant idea called 'The Stack'. Motion helps express the infinite and expansive catalogue where there is always something more to see. It's a system that can be seamlessly adapted to any format, device or platform, creating a consistent brand experience. What better way to reflect the Netflix service.
02. Channel 4 (opens in new tab)
Channel 4 unveiled their new look recently created in-house alongside DBLG and it didn't disappoint. As usual, they have been fearlessly creative in their exploration of what channel branding can be. In this incarnation they have deconstructed the famous Lambie Nairn blocks and used motion (and other elements like colour) to create a design system that is playful, surprising and ever-changing. This in conjunction with Glazer's indents clearly reflects their ambition to be a diverse, challenging and an innovative channel.
03. Into Film (opens in new tab)
This new identity system created by Moving Brands for the film education charity Into Film was designed from a motion-first standpoint. The dynamic mark is energetic and playful. It is used as a window into the film content that aims to inspire and capture the imagination of a new generation of film makers.
Animation, transitions and video are becoming the normal part of how we experience brands online. Google's Material Design (opens in new tab) is a great case in point. When used for good reason, motion often enhances a user's experience.
Transitions can move the user between sections, animations can offer subtle navigation cues, prompt interaction, offer feedback and guide users through processes to make their journey easier. We can even use animation to decrease perceived waiting time.
Getting these things right is a real art. Timing and easing is key. The way a system moves, feels and responds to a user's actions, as well as the way it looks, plays a massive role in brand perception. Get this wrong and it can make the site feel clunky, disjointed and unpleasant to use. And gratuitous use of animation can frustrate people.
Designers need to understand the possibilities and use them when they have good reason. A few inspiring examples that I've seen recently:
- Elite Model (opens in new tab)
- B&Oplay (opens in new tab)
- Spotify-Taste Rewind (opens in new tab)
I'm not suggesting all designers should be able to animate or shoot video, just as I don't believe designers need to be able to code websites. But a certain level of knowledge, understanding and a change in mindset is becoming important. Imagining and defining how a brand will come to life across all touch points necessitates a good understanding of designing for motion.
If you're a recent graduate or a designer looking to gain more experience in digital and motion design — we're happy to do portfolio reviews and placements (whenever possible). If you have any questions or are looking for advice just give me a shout @markdearman (opens in new tab).
Words: Mark Dearman
Mark Dearman is design director at True Digital (opens in new tab), a dedicated team of creative digital experts with an insatiable appetite for ideas and innovation.
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