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  • davidhaslop

Create an impact with explainer videos

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Animated infographics bring facts and statistics to life, helping to explain stories and communicate brand messages. With the clever use of compelling motion graphics and animation, they can capture increased attention from viewers online. These animated videos enable brands to stand out in a crowded space. Infographics turn complex information and jargon into more simplified and engaging content. This technique allows the audience to understand in-depth subjects more easily.

Infographic style illustration explaining the concept of live video streaming

The rise of infographics and marketing content

Originally many infographics were static. Facts and information would be composed as still graphic designs using typography, icons, and illustrations to explain a subject. Over time there has been an increase in demand for businesses to communicate more visually across their brands. These initial static infographics would help open up new paths for infographics using animation. These became known as animated infographics and explainer videos.

Being more engaging than their static equivalents, the introduction of animation has taken the world of infographics and explainer videos to a whole new level. The additional feature of motion graphics has helped increase viewer attention dramatically. Video and animation tend to grab the user's attention more. Research shows that the audience is more likely to be drawn towards moving content than stills. It is particularly beneficial online as brands compete against one another for attention.

Turning complex information into a compelling video

Infographics and explainer videos exist to help people understand all manner of things. For example, communicating how climate change affects the planet could be a complex topic as a written article - but more understandable when divided into chapters and brought to life with creative visual ideas presented as an animation. The use of icons and graphic illustrations could represent the things which lead to the shift in temperatures. Infographics are a great way to help raise awareness of campaigns and hot topics.

Another use could be an explainer video showing how a business operates, enabling people to understand clearly what they do, how they do it, and how it can benefit them as a customer. Take online shopping as an example - the animation could show a journey of how to log on to an online store, browse for products then explain the various ways to pay before finally checking out. The visual treatment could reflect the look of the brand. When working on animations, adhering to design guidelines is essential to enable the audience to feel connected with the brand.

Online shopping illustration concept

While some infographics are appropriate for sharing in the public domain, others could be effective for businesses on their internal social network or intranet. This approach is ideal for large companies dealing with sensitive data that require privacy. Company update videos are a great way to help teams celebrate key milestones and targets. An example here could be a timeline brought to life showing business achievements throughout the year. An alternative could be a video demonstrating a new system that a business needs to explain to staff in an easy-to-understand way. The ability to reach multiple employees by sharing the video with one click creates efficiency.

With video becoming more visible on social media, some businesses have opted to integrate video into their marketing plans as a strategy. Instead of creating a one-off explainer video, they produce short and sharp infographic content and post it regularly on social media feeds to keep their brand looking fresh and eye-catching. People are more inclined to click on a social feed with animated content. This approach can create a point of difference from the competition.

How could an explainer video help my business?

. Explain what your company does

. Educate your business team

. Launch a new campaign

. Communicate how a product works

. Increase impact on social media

. Tell a story through a video series

. Raise awareness about key subjects

Unique visual styles and creative treatments

There are endless treatments for the visual styling of an infographic, the design of many will be influenced by corporate brand guidelines. Designers working for corporate clients need to familiarise themselves with the brand and understand how the company communicates with its audience. Things to consider are brand colours, which often come in the form of primary and secondary colour palettes and how the brand uses fonts and other properties such as icons, illustrations and photography.

There may also be a standard animation style to follow based on previous campaigns and communication. Capturing the correct tone of voice for the brand is essential to keep aligned with existing marketing and brand collateral. During the production of an animation or explainer video, there is often collaboration with internal designers and directors who champion the brand. The treatment and animation style should reflect the values and aspirations of the brand.

Creative freedom can vary when working on infographic projects. Sometimes the brief could be wide open with the opportunity to conceive ideas and design a sequence from scratch with only a few specific rules bear in mind. Other times there could be strict brand guidelines in place with less room to push the boundaries of the brief but still offering the scope to create an impact. The variety of briefs and subjects keeps the world of infographics interesting as no project or brand is the same. Also, you can learn many new facts when working on these types of projects!

Corporate business themed infographic

Working out how to take a script and brand guidelines and then transform them into animation is one of the most rewarding aspects of the job. This part of the project will help determine how the scenes look and the sequence flows. Storyboard frames can help with this part of the process. Then there is the step between static images and the animation itself. How will the imagery move? How will a scene transition from one to the next? What techniques will keep the viewer engaged, surprised and intrigued? All of these things are an enjoyable challenge during the creative production process.

Another aspect to consider with the motion graphics is the effective use of music and sound design. It can make a big difference to the overall feel of the final video. Are you looking to create an uplifting and motivational vibe, or should the tone be more serious, communicating messages about a more serious subject? Music alone can compliment visuals very effectively, but considering the use of sound effects can further enhance an infographic animation. There are often numerous opportunities to introduce these throughout a motion graphics sequence if it feels appropriate without going over the top.

Take the example referred to previously along the theme of online shopping. You could imagine there would be some good potential to add sound effects at key points such as mouse button clicks, maybe the sound of a product being added to a basket or a doorbell ringing when the product arrives delivered to the front door. These small extra touches add to the production value of the final animation and can make the difference between something ordinary and extraordinary. After all, the key is to grab the attention of the viewer. Sound design and audio certainly play their part in keeping the viewer engaged.

What look and feel could work for my brand?

. Illustration based

. Typographic or text-driven

. Icons

. Character-based

. Graphs, charts, and data

. Type and image

The animation production process

Once a business has decided to go ahead with an infographic or explainer video, the next phase is to plan out the overall project. Communication and collaboration are essential to a successful video. From the initial meeting discussing the creative brief to the final delivery of the brand video, open communication and collaboration will help the project keep on track and run smoothly. The client will likely have objectives they wish to fulfil. These are very likely to be discussed ahead of scripting. Guidance is often required to help decide the duration of an infographic animation. Too long, you can risk losing the attention span of the audience. Too short, and you may not be able to land a memorable enough message.

Because each infographic is unique, they tend to have different durations. The length of time decided for the animation will usually be influenced by the goals and aspirations of the client. A well-written script can make a big difference. The tone is equally as important as the visuals. The two aspects should work in harmony, complementing each other. A well-written script will also lend itself well to the visual ideas. A nice variety of wording and structure will enable strong creative ideas at both the storyboard and animation stages of the project.

Team building scene with icons

Sometimes it can be challenging for a business to condense what they are trying to communicate into an appropriate number of words and phrases. It could be that the starting point is a much longer script than the final one. Often scripts are distilled several times before the final one is approved. This part of the process can help improve how compelling the messages are when brought to life through animation. It is worth the investment of time as otherwise, the end video could be very long and risk losing audience attention. Also, the production value of a longer video is unlikely to be as high as one that is half the duration purely down to the amount of animation required throughout.

After the final script receives the green light, the creative part of the project gets into full swing, with ideas conceived and storyboards created before animation commences. Communication and clarity at these stages are essential. Finding the right direction for the look and feel ahead of the animation stage can make a real difference. Giving the client a clear idea of the design and approach to the animation means everyone is on the same page when the animation production begins. This direction can be captured in a storyboard, giving both the client and animator a clear indication of visual styling and movement. Finally, the animation begins where all the hard work of the scriptwriting and design of the storyboard starts coming to life through the dynamic use of motion graphics. This rewarding and exciting part is where everything comes together to create the all-important wow factor.

The planning stages of an infographic

. Discussing the brief and objectives

. Creating an effective script

. Storyboarding creative ideas

. Bringing the ideas to life

. Adding music and sound effects

. Rendering a full animation

. Measuring the impact

Benefits of using video to explain your message

Whether creating a single brand video to give staff recognition or a series of films to explain a product range, infographics have become a very effective way of communicating. They can bring personality and add value to brands, helping businesses attract an increased following. The world of social media has changed significantly over the past few years. Faster broadband speeds and more streaming services have meant even more visual content can now catch our eyes. With this in mind, making sure your brand has an engaging online presence is vital. A prominent infographic or explainer video campaign can help freshen up your online presence and rival your competition.

The creation of infographics can help businesses with efficient use of time too. They are great for training teams within various business areas and enable people to learn new skills and understand new ways of working. Watching an explainer video has the benefit of not taking up lots of precious time. They are also great to refer back to and can work particularly well when created as a series of videos to make subjects easier to understand. They can also work very effectively as teaser animations. Imagine a product launch is six months away. A company wishes to generate hype ahead of the big reveal. A monthly infographic series could help build a sense of anticipation through short, sharp videos. Think of mini trailers for a product which would generate interest around the upcoming branded product.

Creating an infographic or explainer style film could increase exposure for a business or campaign and open up new opportunities. These could be in the form of an increase in traffic to a website, growing awareness about an issue in the world or simply explaining how a new piece of cloud software works. Ultimately, explainer films are much easier to digest than copy heavy articles. They communicate messages clearly to an audience. Businesses are increasingly embracing video as a communication method. Explainer films can open a new avenue of visual communication and help people clearly understand a concept, product or business strategy. Where infographics go in the next few years will be very interesting to see.


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