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Choosing the right animation style

For any animation project, choosing the right visual style can be just as important as the script itself. There are many factors to consider when selecting a style, such as company brand, target audience, budget, and tone. So how do you know which one is right for your project?


Most established companies have a distinct brand identity that connects with their mission and values. Brands often have specific colors, font types, and recurring visual elements that appear in their promotional materials. This helps familiarize customers with the brand identity, and will often want a style that supports these elements. 


Next, you should consider your subject matter. Is it a physical object, a service, or perhaps a personal art project? Your chosen animation style should serve to complement and elevate your end goal with the video. For example, if advertising a new power drill, you may want a graphic style that reflects strength and durability. For a service like personal training, perhaps focusing more on desirable health and lifestyle goals will be more effective. The aesthetics of the animation can be adapted to fit just about any subject matter.  


Who are you trying to attract? When targeting younger kids, use playful colors and characters that will keep them interested. Looking to attract millennials? Try something modern and flashy. You should also consider the tone of the video. For example, using a playful style for an advertisement about a cancer foundation would be in bad taste. However, a more elegant and simple style would allow the viewer to grasp the seriousness of the topic while still being visually appealing. 


Lastly, weigh your budget against your goals for your product. Animation styles can widely vary in price range depending on the complexities of the style. For example, a simple 2D animation style can be fairly affordable while still remaining appealing and effective. Meanwhile, a hyper-realistic fully 3D animation can require an exponentially higher amount of resources to produce. However, there are many ways to bridge the gap between the two extremes. For example, converting 2D images into 3D-looking “2.5D” animations can be a fairly economic way to elevate a production without breaking the bank. Speak with your chosen animation house to figure out a way to get the best bang for your buck.  

Remember, there is no “one size fits all” approach for animation. What works for some projects may not work for others. Make a plan, do your research, and brainstorm some ideas that will best elevate your game above the rest. To illustrate some of what was discussed above, we will highlight some previous work to show the team’s thought process when choosing an animation style.


A children’s game show airing on Disney+. The objective of the game is to determine out of two experts, which one is telling the truth, and which one is fibbing. Our goal when creating the intro was to capture the imagination of children and create wacky and zany characters, some of which could exist and some could not.


A reality show about the lives of people who illegally produce moonshine, their techniques and how they evade the law. We developed the 2D animated map designs that explain the still setups for each episode. For this, we designed the map texture and style with an outdoorsy feel, almost as if the moonshiners themselves were using these plans. Drawings would animate on according to what’s being said and would give the viewer an intimate look at how each still was built and used.


A paranormal show that investigates claims of supernatural encounters. Since these encounters take place all over the world, we designed a 3D map that gives us the ability to rapidly move from one location to another. We gave the map an overall green tint to give off a paranormal vibe and choose a font that’s a mix between spooky and sci-fi. For maps showing travel there’s two map types; flying, which is fast-paced and uses straight connected lines, and driving, which is slower and uses jagged lines to illustrate the concept of moving through many streets, highways and trails. These 3D maps are also used to identify different locations from the episode to highlight paranormal sightings.