4 Characteristics of Top Motion Design Studios

By July 30, 2020 Motion Graphics

Top motion design studios illustration featuring computer screen with video elements

You know it’s time to take your branded video content to the next level. Maybe you’re not getting the engagement you were hoping for. Maybe stock footage isn’t really capturing your message or your brand. Or maybe you’re making your first foray into the world of brand video. Whatever the case may be, it’s time to find the right motion design studio to bring your vision to life — but what are the top characteristics you should be looking for? 

The first step to content marketing success is finding the right partner. That’s because, whether you’re producing custom live-action video, a motion graphic, or a combination of both, your audiences will respond to quality above all. There’s just too much great video content out there for them not to be picky about what they spend their time watching. 

So let’s take a look at the characteristics you should seek out in a motion design studio. 

1. Proven Experience with Branded Video Content

Explainer Video Blog Post header

The top motion design studios are uniquely equipped to deliver the level of quality that will drive engagements, conversions — and ultimately, business growth. They’re capable of producing both motion graphics and live-action video content with animated content — such as graphs and text — overlaid on that video. 

But technical ability alone isn’t enough. You also want your motion design partner to have a proven track record of partnering with and developing content for successful brands. If they’ve got this kind of experience under their belt, you know that they have a few essential capabilities: 

  • They can develop content that not only aligns with corporate brand guidelines, but makes powerful, effective use of those guidelines. 
  • They know how to design motion graphic content to achieve specific goals and reach clearly defined target audiences
  • They’re committed to listening to and collaborating with their clients to ensure they’re delivering on expectations. 
  • They’re capable of delivering the kind of high-quality customer service that top brands expect. 

Now, given all of these capabilities, you might expect that the top motion design studios need to be large, corporate-run organizations themselves. But in fact, small animation studios are quite often capable of delivering on these expectations, and sometimes even more so. That’s because small teams that have all been based in the same office are more agile — more equipped for the kind of creative collaboration that gets your whole project team in the room at once. These kinds of collaborations ensure that everyone on the team is aware of your goals and expectations, and that the best ideas rise to the top.

2. A Portfolio Featuring a Wide Range of Design & Animation Styles

Motion Graphic on Global Health Security Featuring Animated Data Visualization

Motion Graphic: Healthcare Facility Brings Medical Services to Life

Motion Graphic Campaign: Visiting
a Tahitian Paradise with PG Cruises

Animated GIF Series: Carbon & Riddell’s
Next-Gen Football Helmets

Cummins Visual Language Design and Campaign

Any motion design studio that you partner with should be able to showcase their capabilities across a wide variety of animation and design styles. After all, every brand is different, and so is every marketing campaign — so you want to make sure that they’ll be able to deliver on your unique needs. 

So when you’re doing your initial research on the top motion design studios to work with, make sure to check out their online portfolios and their social media platforms first. Identify design styles that resonate with you, or that you think might be a good fit for your brand. You might also find some inspiration for your next motion graphic. 

But don’t stop there. It’s often the case that a motion design studio can’t showcase all the work that they’ve done on their public portfolio. Especially if they’ve worked for some large brands, or have developed motion graphics for internal comms campaigns, many of their best projects might be white-label — that is, projects they can’t publicly claim as theirs. 

So if you like what you’re seeing so far in a particular studio, reach out and ask for more examples of their work. The studios that value quality customer service and building long-term relationships will be more than happy to oblige. In fact, they’ll probably ask to learn more about your brand, your goals, and your upcoming projects so that they can provide examples that feel most relevant to you. Some of these examples might even surprise you — and that’s a good thing … because top motion design studios know how to build custom visual strategies for their clients. Which brings us to our next point.

3. A Dedication to Delivering Custom Visual Strategies & Solutions

Visual strategy illustration with magnifying glass

Top motion graphics studios won’t expect you to do all the design direction for your own project. Rather, they’ll begin by learning about your goals, your target audience, and your brand story. Then they’ll recommend a visual marketing strategy that’s designed to achieve your goals, engage your audiences, and bring your brand story to life. 

That recommendation might not be what you originally set out to do. For instance, maybe you originally wanted a 5-minute video detailing all that your company has to offer. An experienced motion graphic design company will know whether this type of video actually has the potential to achieve the goals you’ve outlined for them. Perhaps a shorter video, or even a series of GIFs, is a better fit. Or maybe they’ll propose a full campaign of assets that combines motion graphics, GIFs, static social-media assets, and more. 

The important thing is that the solution they propose should be customized to your unique needs. If it’s not, then it hasn’t been designed to succeed for your brand.

Curious what visual communication can do for you?

4. A Top Motion Graphic Studio Is Dedicated to Customer Service

Illustration of a trophy a top motion graphics studio might receive for customer service

We’ve said it once but we’ll say it again: customer service matters. When you’re looking for a motion graphic design partner, you want to develop a long-term relationship. You want to ensure that they’ll spend time getting to know your brand because they care about working with you again. And you can usually tell whether you’re working with this type of partner right off the bat. 

On the initial sales call, pay attention to what types of questions they’re asking you. If they’re only focused on what type of asset you want to produce, they might not be thinking about visual strategy on a broader scale. If they don’t ask about your goals or your audience, how are they going to produce a motion graphic that drives growth for your business? 

Likewise, on a project kickoff, is the whole creative team there, from content writers to researchers to designers and animators? Do you have a dedicated project manager and account manager to ensure the team aligns on a clear vision of your brand and goals? 

So ask these questions of any future motion design partner, and look for these fundamental characteristics. It’ll ensure that your motion design studio partner of choice will deliver top-quality work that boosts traffic and sales — and that you’ll want to work with them again and again.

Erin McCoy

Author Erin McCoy

Erin McCoy is director of content marketing and public relations at Killer Visual Strategies. She earned her BA in Spanish with minors in French and Russian, and holds 2 master’s degrees from the University of Washington: an MFA in creative writing and an MA in Spanish literature. She has won nearly 2 dozen awards in photojournalism, and has dedicated those skills to boosting Killer’s brand recognition and thought leadership in visual communication. Since Erin took on her marketing/PR role, Killer has been named a member of the Inc. 5000 for 4 years in a row; has been featured in such publications as Inc., Forbes, Mashable, and the Huffington Post; and has been invited to present at such conferences as SXSW and SMX Advanced.

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