Go the extra mile with body language to match your brand values
Over the next few months, digital design agency Resoluut will be spilling all secrets on digital-first branding — from strategy and design systems to motion design and UX writing. Today’s topic: motion design.
Most marketers agree that you need a clear visual style and a recognizable tone of voice in order to create a strong brand. But motion design usually takes a backseat — which is a real shame, because anything that moves will catch your eye right away. It’s just how our brains are wired. No doubt, this has something to do with our primal instincts: where there’s movement, there’s potential danger. Gotta keep those eyes open! We’ve never lost that instinct, even though we now live in the Digital Age.
A simple example of motion design in action that everybody knows is the blinking cursor in Word. Or the notification sliding onto your screen as you get a new email. And how about those little orbs that shake when you enter the wrong access code on your iPhone? Just try ignoring them. You’ll probably find that it’s nearly impossible. Motion design is a beautiful way to stimulate interaction. It’s the perfect tool to get users to take action.
Brands are just like people The way something moves makes a massive impact. Just like a brand’s look and sound, motion contributes to its recognizability.
That’s why the type of movement you use should fit the brand to a T. Is it calm or bouncy? Flexible or more rigid? Does it have a sense of humor or is it formal? That’s why you should always start out by translating the brand values to motion rules. You’re creating a brand’s body language, if you will.
Don’t go overboard Once that body language has been established, you can use motion design for pretty much anything. But don’t go overboard — just because you can make anything and everything on the screen move, doesn’t mean you should. Using motion correctly is an art form where the look, the amount of moving elements and timing are essential.
If you get it wrong, motion can end up looking like a hot mess. It can make your app or website look incoherent, and unnecessary animations frustrate users. If everything is moving — where should you look?
Make it easy for people What you want is to guide people. If used properly, motion is perfect for explaining complicated tasks, like setting up a home network. That isn’t something people do every day. Google gets that, so they launched a supplementary app along with Google Home.
The app walks you through the installation process by way of pleasant animations. In fluent, almost cheerful motions, the illustrations show you what you can do with Google Home. And thanks to the geometric shapes and primary colors, you recognize the brand immediately. This app makes the necessary evil of installation a lot clearer, and maybe even a little fun.
Digital-first branding done right Netflix knows a thing or two about motion design as well. As they developed their brand identity, the streaming service thought about ways to translate it to all types of media. They took digital as the starting point. That’s no surprise, of course, since we’re talking about a digital service.
The result is a beautiful system lovingly called “The Stack.” The Stack is consistently used across the brand’s many touchpoints, making motion design a fully realized brand element. And here’s what’s really smart: the same build up is repeated in offline materials where — naturally — motion is impossible. Even on Netflix’ bus stop posters, you immediately notice the similarities to their digital style. It’s a fine piece of digital-first branding.
These are only a few examples, but the sky is the limit when it comes to motion design. You can use it to ask for user feedback, or to show users how to navigate an app. You can even use motion to make waiting lines seem shorter. These are useful applications that make for a much better user experience. But the most beautiful thing about motion design is that it brings your brand to life. Literally.
This is the third in a series of articles on digital-first branding. Digital design agency Resoluut will be talking brand voice next. Resoluut Resoluut is an Amsterdam based digital product and brand design agency. We create products and brands that do what they are supposed to do. If you’re curious about Resoluut’s own digital-first branding, head to Resoluut.com.