What is Motion Design?

Analysis, Uncategorized

There are a lot of terms and product names affiliated to the kind of online content we develop: motion graphics, infographics, explanimations, motion designs, 2D & 3D animations, etc. etc. It gets pretty complicated. But what does it all mean? This article tries to explain to basics.

What is motion design?
Motion Design is the subject that encapsules all the terms described above. It’s basically the art of graphic design, a term we’re all a little more familiar with, but with movement added to it. And motion graphics are the products that motion designers develop.

Wikipedia describes it as applying the principles of graphic design in a filmmaking or videoproduction context. The best of two worlds. And that’s what makes motion design so awesome and why it’s so suitable for online use: it combines two arts (graphic design and animation/videoproduction) and turns into a very versitale product, suitable for many different implementations:

– As a form of art

– To explain something

– To promote something

– To entertain

– To inspire/move/create awareness

– To inform

Besides the distinction of what motion graphics can do there are also several forms and shapes motion design can take. First off, there’s the 2D animation. 2D animation creates movement in a two-dimensional artistic space. The image we see looks flat, there’s no depth, but simply elements that create a foreground and background.

Then there’s 2.5D animations, where an illusion of depth is created by ‘playing’ with perspective and position of elements being shown on screen.
3D animations go a step further by creating objects or elements that aren’t flat, but are fully dimensional. The camera is now able to move in and around the world created by the animator. These kind of animations are more complex and therefore expensive to develop, but they’re very popular in for example (product)promotions, the visual arts, and commercials.

Finally, there’s not really a general easy name for this kind of product, as far as I can think of at the moment but there are video’s that combine animation with live shot footage. In this case, the two worlds of graphics and video collide again and the result can be fun and refreshing!


While products that come out of graphic design, like posters, flyers, or even websites can be inspiring and interesting, the addition of motion and thereby time and space offers so many more possibilities entertain and inform a viewer. Take them on a journey, and all they have to do is sit back and watch the screen.