What Is Motion Design & How To Implement It On TV?

Feb 16, 2023 / Industry Insights / FOTW


You might not know this, but the art of motion design has been around for basically a century! Since its invention, the value of motion design has risen rapidly. There is a constant barrage of information aimed at us as we go about our daily lives. Motion design is utilised in many different contexts, from TV commercials to video games and mobile apps, to increase brand awareness, simplify difficult concepts, and catch the attention of the target audience.

Whether you’re hoping to integrate motion design into your next TV ad campaign or a just curious about this growing creative discipline, we’ve got the resources you need to get going. In this article, we’ll define what motion design actually is, explore the history of motion design, its key principles and common use cases, plus we’ll provide some real-world applications to tie it all together.

What Is Motion Design?

Shortened from “motion graphic design,” the phrase “motion design” has its roots in the field of motion graphics.

To produce dynamic and engaging content, motion designers blend elements of graphic design, animation, and filmmaking. Storytelling, message delivery, and user experience improvement are just a few of the goals that may be accomplished through the use of time-based media such as animation and video.

Motion designers employ several different mediums and processes to generate their work, such as 2D and 3D animation, compositing, typography, and sound design. Commercials, music videos, movie and TV titles, explainer videos, and user interfaces are all possible projects they may work on.

The fluidity and motion of visual elements are important to motion design. Designers should think about how their creations will be received in the long run, not just how they look right now. This calls for an in-depth familiarity with time, pacing, and rhythm, as well as the ability to craft natural transitions and flowing animations.

In today’s digital landscape, where video and animation are typically the most successful ways to capture and hold audience attention, motion design has taken on a more central role. Designers, filmmakers, and anybody involved in producing compelling visual content will find this ability useful.

Difference between VFX and motion design

When it comes to digital media, motion design and visual effects (VFX) are two distinct but connected subgenres.

Basically, motion design can be seen as a “visual language” that combines graphic design, animation, and filmmaking to make moving images. Creating visual elements that communicate a message, tell a story, or improve the user experience is a common part of the field of motion design. Motion designers employ several different mediums and processes, such as 2D and 3D animation, compositing, typography, and sound design, to generate their final products.

On the other hand, live-action footage may have lifelike or fantasy aspects superimposed on it with the help of visual effects. Visual effects can be used to re-create worlds and characters that do not exist in the actual world, as well as to enhance pre-existing material by adding or eliminating components. Visual effects animators and modellers employ many programmes to bring their visions to life in 3D.

While both motion design and VFX share some common ground, the two disciplines diverge most notably in their respective foci: motion design is concerned with the creation of visual elements that are integrated into a larger design, while VFX is concerned with the creation of realistic or fantastic elements that are integrated into live-action footage. Both disciplines call for highly developed technical abilities and innovative thinking but serve different functions and necessitate different forms of knowledge.

Quick History of Motion Design

Image credit: Motion Array

Much like the world of CGI, motion design has some interesting history behind it. Some sources say that its history goes as far back as the 1920s! Needless to say, motion design has come a long way since its early years, and there doesn’t seem to be any signs of stopping.

Let’s have a quick look at the history of motion design and see how far it’s come.

The early days of motion design

As an art form, motion design may be traced back to the early 20th century, to the dawn of animation and experimental filmmaking. Oskar Fischinger and Walter Ruttmann, two pioneers of abstract animation in the 1920s, used geometric forms and patterns to create captivating motion graphics.

Rise of motion design

Artists like Stan Brakhage and Jordan Belson emerged in the ’60s and ’70s to experiment with animation and film, creating hallucinogenic works that blurred the lines between sight, sound, and movement.

Thanks to improvements in computing power, digital animation and motion graphics became increasingly popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Designers began employing computers and software like Apple’s Macintosh and Adobe’s After Effects to produce increasingly complex and visually arresting animations.

Modern-day motion design

Motion design has rapidly expanded its presence in today’s media landscape, from TV advertisements and music videos to movie and game titles, mobile apps, and user interfaces. As time goes on and new tools become available, as well as designers experiment with different approaches, the area of visual communication will continue to expand and change.

How & Where Is Motion Design Used

The use of motion design can be quite flexible and take many different forms. In order to create a wide variety of motion graphics, motion designers frequently work in tandem with other creative professionals such as illustrators, photographers, videographers, and video editors. Nevertheless, one of the most important uses is to make information that is based on text more appealing and engaging.

Through the use of motion design, the eyes of the viewer are directed to the most relevant information, which improves their ability to comprehend and remember newly acquired information.

From places you might expect to those you might be surprised by, here are some of the use cases of motion design:


Brand awareness and a unified visual identity can be effectively established and expanded through the use of motion design in a variety of contexts. Animated logos, original artwork, and interactive typefaces all contribute to a more memorable and distinguishable brand.


Within the entertainment industry, title sequences, commercial breaks, and other forms of motion design all contribute to establishing a show’s visual identity and enhancing the audience’s experience. Video games, music videos, and other types of digital entertainment also use motion design in a similar vein.


One surprising use of motion design is within the field of education — but once you think about it, it does make sense. Explainer videos, manuals, and online courses all benefit from motion design’s incorporation into the educational process. Complex ideas can be simplified with the use of animated infographics, graphs, and pictures that make learning more interesting and memorable.

User interface

Motion design is finding more and more applications in the design of user interfaces, such as those seen on websites, mobile applications, and software. Using animations and transitions can make the user’s interaction with the interface more satisfying and efficient. However, using too much motion within a website or mobile app isn’t always the best idea!


Commercials, both on television and online, and social media campaigns frequently use motion design to rapidly and efficiently deliver a message to the target audience. Animations and motion graphics are great tools for simplifying complicated concepts, drawing attention to key elements, and making an impression.

Examples of Motion Design in TV Advertising

As we’ve mentioned before, motion design has become a powerful tool to use within the TV advertising space. Using motion design, advertisers can make ads that stand out and get results by doing things like capturing viewers’ attention and expressing complicated concepts in a straightforward way.

Here are a couple of our very own TV ads as examples:

Sky Broadband — Black Friday Deal

Here is an example of using motion design with big, bold text telling the viewer exactly what they’ll get. For this ad, we worked with Sky Ireland to highlight their big Black Friday sale. Paired with an energetic voiceover, the motion design we created for this utilised Sky’s bright brand colours to make the text on the screen pop. Then we’ve added the little things, like a shine highlighting the incredible deal — ultrafast broadband capable of quicker streaming, better gaming and a more enjoyable social media experience — at just €30 a month.

Flying Goose Sriracha — #FollowTheGoose

Who doesn’t love a splash of sriracha every now and then? We played around with a bottle of Flying Goose and had some fun while putting our team’s skills to work. Using motion design, we had a bottle of their sriracha hot chilli sauce burst out of a nest of chilis and soar through the air — with lots of animated fire and lines used for emphasis.

How to Take Advantage of Motion Design When Advertising On TV

The usage of motion design can be of great assistance to marketers who are attempting to create engaging yet successful television advertising campaigns. Here are some of the best ways marketers can utilise motion design when advertising on TV:

Establish brand identity

With the help of motion design, a brand’s visual identity can be maintained invariably throughout several mediums. By using moving elements like logos and typefaces, you may establish a memorable brand identity that will stay with your audience. 

For instance, a strong brand identity that viewers will associate with the brand can be created by using an animated logo sequence that is used consistently across all advertisements and other marketing materials.

Grab the attention of an audience

With so many commercials vying for people’s attention, it’s crucial to make pieces that are both visually appealing and interesting to read. Advertisers may stand out from the crowd by using motion design to produce eye-catching advertising with dynamic animation, fascinating transitions, and vivid colours. 

An attention-grabbing and thrilling opening animation, for instance, can hook viewers and get them interested in what comes next. Use this combined with other creative aspects of TV advertising, like sound design and voiceovers, to create a great TV commercial.

Convey a message quickly

With only a few seconds to make an impact, TV commercials must get to the point quickly. When properly executed, motion design may be utilised to generate animations, infographics, and other visual elements that simplify and captivate audiences while conveying even the most complicated of ideas. 

Animated infographics, for instance, can be far more successful than long blocks of text when explaining the advantages of a product or service. Take a look at some of the best examples of TV advertising and see for yourself!

The Bottom Line

Motion design is a method of visual communication that blends the concepts of graphic design with animation in order to produce motion graphics that are both eye-catching and entertaining. Nowadays, you can find motion design used in a diverse array of ways, including television commercials, video games, mobile applications, and a great deal more! Motion design may be particularly effective in television advertising, where it can help companies attract the attention of viewers, express complicated concepts in a simple way, and develop a powerful brand identity.

We can expect that motion design will play an increasingly essential role in a broad range of sectors and applications as technology continues to advance and animation tools become more accessible to users. Perhaps, motion design could even find its way into more aspects of our lives!

Keen on seeing what TV advertising can bring to your brand? Get in touch with an experienced advertising agency who’ll be able to help you get the job done!