5 Key Ingredients for a Great Motion Design

We recently featured a vastly informative article on the 12 Basic Principles of Animation in Motion Design, a great resource for those interested in the animation design process. For those looking to get their hands dirtier in motion and animation design, but lack some of the know-how, HOW Design University offers a beginner-level course that expounds upon those basic principles.

The Motion Graphics and Animation course covers the elements that make great animation design and how to use Adobe After Effects to make a vision a reality.

Here is a modified excerpt from the course, with examples hand-picked by HOW Staff:

5 Key Ingredients to a Good Animation

1) Story: There are several uses of story in animation. It all boils down to whether or not the story is a good one or a bad one.

Commissioned for the Holocaust Memorial Memory Makers Project, this video tells a compelling and heart-wrenching true story.

Note: The video below explores mature themes.

Bettine Le Beau – A Lucky Girl from GRIFF

2) Environment: You need an environment or a believable space. A lot of times that comes down to aesthetics.

This video takes excellent advantage of physical space, adding motion design elements to present a visually fascinating ensemble.

Design Starts Here from Echoic : Music and Sound Design

3) Movement: Obviously, animation wouldn’t happen without movement. Movement can happen in very many ways. It could happen in stop-motion form where it is choppy. It could also happen in a very fluid way.

Elements of Design from matt greenwood

4) Audio: Sound (or lack thereof) can be used in different forms—sound effects, music, etc. A designer may choose music or sounds to create a unique experience or a compelling story.

This video offers an educational and visually intriguing look at the basics of motion design using excellent visual examples with accompanying sound effects.

The Basics of Motion Design from Rogge & Pott

5) Quality Execution: Make sure to produce a quality product. Any animation needs to be flawless and there can’t be any errors or any seams or any loose ends that need tying up.

There are few who rival Saul Bass when it comes to excellent motion design, a talent particularly apparent in his film title work.

The Title Design of Saul Bass from Ian Albinson

Learn more about Saul Bass’ work in Saul Bass: Anatomy of Film Design by Jan-Christopher Horak.

5 Steps to Creating an Animation

Below is a video from Motion Graphics and Animation explaining the five steps to creating an animation:

Interested in learning more about the animation design process and how to use Adobe After Effects to create motion? Sign up for the Motion Graphics and Animation Course here.


HOW Design University offers courses on a variety of design topics. Browse the catalog to see if there is a design skill you would like to learn or brush up on.

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