Motion Graphics Industry Series: Advertising

Reading Time: 5 minutes

The world of Motion Graphics is huge. There are numerous ways you can apply your expertise and plenty of places who need a professional animator. In this little series, I’d like to talk more on each of the industries that are constantly hiring Motion Graphics artists. The content you’ll see here is based on personal experiences, discussions with other professionals and some inquiries I’ve done throughout my years as a Motion Designer.

Where is Motion Graphics in Advertising?

The advertising industry is a big player in the Motion Graphics world. We are living the audiovisual era, where adding animation to content is a great way to increase the audience’s engagement and the effectiveness of a message. Ad companies know that, and that’s why they are constantly investing in a Motion Designer or even on an animation team.

Video advertising was already seen a lot on television, but it’s now more present than ever in our lives. YouTube ads are a daily reality now. It’s rare to watch any YouTube video without being introduced with those eternal 5 seconds you need to watch before you can press the skip button. More and more companies are investing in video, especially for the YouTube platform. Those 5 seconds I mentioned are crucial to making people keep watching it.

The workflow for an ad production

It’s common to hear from other Motion Designers who work or have worked in the Advertising industry, how freak and fast paced this industry is. Usually, agencies and production companies work on a quick delivery mode or with a very tight deadline.

It happens for numerous reason. It can be because they have a certain number of projects that need to be done each month so they can meet their financial goals; the lack of planning for how long a project generally should take; or even because the client doesn’t realize that he can’t ask for a video and expect it to be ready in one week, so he can use it in a product launch.

Unfortunately, this is something I’ve heard from many professionals and that I’ve even experienced myself. It makes you go crazy, looking for ways to fit the best you can do inside the small amount of time you have.

The Advertising industry in focused on production and the fastest you are able to deliver a good project, better it is for agencies.

The selling power of Motion Graphics in Advertising

In Video Ads, live footages are powerful – and what I mean by live footage are videos that were recorded in the “real world”, with actors, in a real location, lightning crew, etc.

Even though it’s the main solution for most advertising agencies, some times you reach a point where you can’t distinguish a brand from another just by looking at a piece from their ad videos.

Motion Graphics, at the other hand, help brands to stand out and gives more personality to ads. We can add colors, shapes and feelings through our animations, so combining Motion Graphics with Live footage is really powerful if you want to create something unique for a brand. Even if you only add motion to the signature logo animation at the end of the video, you’re able to look more professional if this animation is well made.

Cost of Motion vs Live Production

One of the biggest discussions is about how much Motion Graphics and Live Productions costs, so the industry can define what is more cost-effective. The general answer is: it depends on X, Y and Z. There are always a lot of factors behind a number, being time and team size really important variables when factoring that cost.

Motion Graphics pieces can cost a little less than Live Production when you have a tight schedule to meet. You can do a lot more without the need of renting a studio place, contracting actors and a filmmaking crew, and doing the editing and post-production of the video. In this case, an animation can build a similar impact and can cost less, depending on the professional hired to do that.

However, this is a single case. What is most important here is how effective an Animation Video can be in comparison with a Live Production. Depending on the business, time, and the purpose of a video, animation can do way more than a live video, even if it cost more.

How to work in this industry?

The Advertising industry is usually the entry point for a lot of animators and the easiest way to start making money as a Motion Designer. Since it’s an industry with high demand, there is always an agency or production company looking for either a full-time or a freelancer Motion Designer.

The fast-paced projects require less quality output in comparison to more extended campaigns. In the beginning of my career, I did a lot of motion for `ads` like local supermarkets, bakeries, universities, driving schools, energy companies, underwear shops, and many others. It’s a whole different world from what I’m been doing today but it was a great learning experience.

Keep in mind, especially if you’re entering in the field right now, that this kind of projects helps you to shape your technique, to work against the clock and learn what is essential and what is not.

There’s a great opportunity to grow in the industry if you make this your focus, but it’s also a learning place for everyone who wants to build something greater in the future.

Look for Ad agencies and production companies. They are always willing to meet new professionals to help them handle the animation part of the job. Also, look for your small local TV. They receive requests from local stores all the time, and usually, they aren’t the ones that handle commercials there. It can be a great opportunity to establish some local connections and help small business to grow. Don’t forget that they can later be the big names and you will always be in their minds if you did a great job.


The advertising industry floats to both sides of the spectrum. They are usually looking for animations that can cost less than a live video production, but from time to time you’ll see them looking for the high-valued animators or studios to produce remarkable animations for big brands. The way you position yourself in the industry will define on which position you’ll be hired for.

Practice your craft, build a portfolio and pursue those companies that can benefit from you.

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