Animation and motion-graphics trends 2017

  • By expectations
  • 13 Jan, 2017

We examine four awesome modern animation trends.


Axonometric projection

This is by far the most cost effective way of displaying 3D objects in a 2D world. Styled in an infinite space where the camera pans only on the X and Y axis, most graphics are created before the animation phase. That means there are no surprises and a clear approval process. This style is most suitable to provide a bird's eye view to give the audience a sense of the big picture. It could also be used to demonstrate layers, considering the elements are styled with a strict angles, it makes them highly stackable. Of course the level of complexity could also be upped with 3D isometrics. The result, highly complex visuals with constant movements to narrate the story.


This style will never get old. Often copied, never duplicated. In our experience, this is best used for narrative purpose. For example, if you had to communicate a journey, or to highlight characters – this is the way to go about it. It's very time consuming considering every frame is drawn by hand and you'll need at least 8 frames per second so the animation doesn't appear too low in frame rate. This style of animation means the sky is the limit. A strong visual must already be conceived even before the pen touches the paper or Wacom tablet. Why? Well, you wouldn't want to be told, at the last minute that the animation is 'not right', because that also means that 500+ frames are 'not right'. Of course when it comes to illustration, every artist has their own flavour on the digital canvas which is why illustrative styled animation is often copied, never duplicated.


This style often blends live-action elements with CGI components to give the audience a sense of wonder and intrigue. There is always something magical or endearing when we see craft work created by tangible materials come to life. When we throw in an external factor such as a pair of hands or a stick prodding a wheel, it becomes 'human' powered. It brings a smile to your face, because face it – when we don't understand how something came to be visually, subconsciously, we go to our default 'oh, its a CGI thing'. When we are able to see how the cogs integrate and work with each other, we appreciate it more. Here are some examples.


One segment of animation that is often overlooked is transition, how to move smoothly from visual A to B. Often people struggle with putting two and two together and if animation demonstrates that – instant Wow! Though it dates back many years, we are starting to see a real emergence of this trend. Our take? People are tired of geometric shapes and harsh straight lines. When we see something fluid, something liquid, instantly our minds snap into dynamic mode. The result...a truly psychedelic masterpiece.

By expectations 01 Feb, 2017

Artist Fin Lee was living the not-so-glamorous freelance life, when they got the gig of a lifetime.

In fact, if you watched the 2016 Grammys, you probably saw their work. They designed and illustrated the costumes Lady Gaga's backup dancers wore during her tribute to David Bowie.

After years of struggling to catch a big break, Lee (artist name: Lostboy ), who identifies as queer and uses they/them pronouns, finally got a foot in the door.

Lee's artwork in the style of Egon Shiele (Bowie's artist icon), as well as Bowie's actual hands on jumpsuits for the dancers. Image used with permission.

You'd think designing costumes for Lady Gaga would be a career-changing milestone. But that's not how things went for Lee.

Lee continued to get the occasional illustrator job, but still had to work as a barista to make ends meet. Occasionally, they'd be in the running for a big, exciting gig again, only to watch as someone else got the job instead. Lee noticed a troubling and frustrating pattern to who that "someone else" often was. Though not always the same person, these artists had a few traits in common — namely, they were male, and often white, straight, and cisgender too.

"I think the way our society is — we’re used to seeing a certain type of person in a certain type of field," Lee explains.

Employers or potential employers often aren't aware they might have subconscious biases influencing their hiring process, but the data doesn't lie. This is a problem.

According to a study recently published in the American Sociological Review , white men are more than three timesas likely to get called in for a job interview than a woman with the same qualifications. And that discrimination gets exponentially worse for transgender women.

So where do you go to find work when a potential employer's subconscious biases about who you are prevents them from seeing the good work you're capable of doing?

The turning point in Lee's career came when they became an early user of a new website called Women Who Draw .

Women Who Draw is a database of artists designed to give marginalized artists visibility and a deeper sense of community in a competitive field. The website specifies that it is "trans-inclusive and includes women, trans and gender non-conforming illustrators."

Lee was brought on as a beta tester by one of the site's creators, San Francisco illustrator Wendy MacNaughton . MacNaughton, together with fellow creator and artist Julia Rothman , hoped Lee, a queer Asian artist, could offer advice on how they wanted to see the site operate.

Lee happily obliged. "It's the first of it’s kind that I’ve seen where it’s so inclusive," Lee says.

“Women [on the site] can choose how they want to identify in terms of their race, orientation, location, religion," says MacNaughton. "There are many other ways people identify, but those four seemed very relevant in terms of visibility, and useful for art directors when they’re looking for specific people who might have specific experience, expertise, or perspective."

For employers who want to hire more diverse illustrators, Women Who Draw is an incredibly helpful resource.

Heather Vaughan, an artist and art director for a gaming company, explained over email that "[Women Who Draw] actually came at a really great time. She says she was "specifically looking to find female artists to work with ... since women in games are an even smaller group."

Today, Women Who Draw features over 700 artists, with portfolios that are an incredible representation of diversity, both artistically and demographically.Gracia Lam, who is Asian-Canadian and identifies as gay, says that Women Who Draw makes it so much easier for clients to choose illustrators who can help tell "fuller, more well rounded" stories.

Similarly, Annelise Capossela, a Brooklyn-based illustrator, says that Women Who Draw helps art directors who are looking to diversify their hiring pool and make the conscious choice to search for illustrators and artists who have "uniquely personal insight into certain topics or experiences."

Shortly after Women Who Draw's public launch in December 2016, Lee got their first big editorial job.

On Christmas Day, Lee got a call from Rodrigo Honeywell, the Art Director of the travel section at the New York Times, offering Lee an opportunity to illustrate the feature image for an upcoming article.

Honeywell found Lee through Women Who Draw's database.

Lee has also seen a major uptick in visits to their website since WWD's database launched — over 600 hits on the first day alone.

Lee has come a long way in the year since the 2016 Grammys. But it was Women Who Draw that really helped them open the door to a full-time career as an artist.

Thanks to all the exposure from Women Who Draw, Lee now has a full-time job with an illustration agency that represents artists. They no longer have to serve coffee.

While that's great news for them, equal opportunities for artists like Lee may diminish under a Trump administration. There couldn't be a better time for a site like this.

"For someone who's part of a marginalized community, I feel like I'm finally being seen," Lee says.

By expectations 13 Jan, 2017

While other platforms have seen significant rises in video content, YouTube remains the king of online video - and as such, it should be a critical consideration in all of your online marketing efforts.

So how can you use YouTube tо gеt more customers and build your business?

Here are some key tips

1. Establish a YouTube Presence for Your Business

First, you need to start with the basics, setting up a brand profile on YouTube.

Setting up a YouTube business profile is easy - you need a Google account to sign up for a YouTube profile, which you'll already have if you use Gmail or if you've ever used Google+. Using your Google account, you can sign into YouTube - from here you can create a brand channel or a specific brand account, which you can connect to your personal profile .

2. Set Up Customized Graphic Background for Branding

Once you have a brand profile established, you can sеt uр аnd customize the background for your YouTube channel .

Your background image will represent your business, so it needs to be professional, and there are a heap уоu can find an inexpensive freelance graphic artist such as Upwork or Fiverr to assist, if required.

Make sure your background image is consistent with аll оf your other online media channels like Facebook and Twitter. This wау, people will come to recognize уоu nоt only bу your brand name, but also by your logo and presence.

Here is an example from Nike:

This simple, yet bold, black and white background instantly grabs your attention and is memorable.

By expectations 13 Jan, 2017

Axonometric projection

This is by far the most cost effective way of displaying 3D objects in a 2D world. Styled in an infinite space where the camera pans only on the X and Y axis, most graphics are created before the animation phase. That means there are no surprises and a clear approval process. This style is most suitable to provide a bird's eye view to give the audience a sense of the big picture. It could also be used to demonstrate layers, considering the elements are styled with a strict angles, it makes them highly stackable. Of course the level of complexity could also be upped with 3D isometrics. The result, highly complex visuals with constant movements to narrate the story.

By expectations 12 Jan, 2017

You’re finally ready to take the big step: It’s time to get a website for your small business, or to get a major refresh of your old site.

And so… now what?

Let’s assume you’ve already tackled the first problem: You know you need this thing built for you. You don’t have time to become a self-taught website designer. Neither do most of your peers. 54% of small businesses outsource website and graphic design, according to the WASP Barcode 2016 State of Small Business Report .

But that’s just the first of many issues. For instance, what do you want to have done? How much will it cost? Where will you find this designer? How will you tell if they’re good or not?

They’re all really good questions. Here’s how to answer them:

What do you want to have done?

Knowing the scope of the work helps you figure out what a realistic budget should be. It’s also critical for choosing which website designer to hire. For instance, if you’re a very small local business (aka a “micro business”), you may only need a six-page website. These basic pages might be enough:

  • Homepage
  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Our services / pricing
  • Testimonials page
  • One landing page or events page

That’s one lean website, but if you’re just starting out and you don’t have a big budget, it’s a great first step.

Recommended by Forbes

Or maybe you already have a basic site like that, but it’s old and not mobile-friendly. Say you want to add a simple blog, a couple more product pages, and give the whole thing a new look.

Whatever you want for your business website, write it down. Think about it for a bit. Ask your employees or your peers what they think about your site. Or even better – ask a few of your customers what they think of your website.

From all that input, write a short list of must-do, must-have things. Be really specific about what you want done. Write it all down. You’re basically writing out what you want the designer to do.

Caption: It’s okay to “steal” elements you like from other websites for your own site.

Find sites you really like

Want to assure your success even more? Spend an hour or two looking through websites that are similar to yours or in a complementary niche.

Make detailed notes about what you like about these sites. See a contact page you love? A typeface you want to use? Make a note of it and capture the link.

You’ll be capturing concrete, actionable information for your designer as you do this. It’ll cut down the time it takes to create your site, and thus reduce your costs by a lot. It’s also one of the best ways to ensure you end up with a site you’ll really like.

By expectations 10 Jan, 2017

Your website is the hub of your online presence – period. (Well, maybe that’s not exactly true from you right now, but it must be!)

As such, it has to do some heavy lifting and that heavy lifting must extend far beyond the interactive brochure still built today by many business owners.

Your website must tell a story. A story must be engaging and there must be a hero, a problem, a quest, a call to arms, and a promise of a happy ending.

The trouble with most sites, however, stems to some degree from how the web design industry is viewed.

A business creates a great product or service, develops the processes for marketing said product or service and then turns to a designer to create a gorgeous set of web pages to showcase it.

At some point, they determine they are going to need lots of pretty words to go with that awesome design, and then eventually they will need someone to “SEO it all.”

Of course, today the path described above is a recipe for disaster and waste.

The purpose of your site

As the digital hub for your business, your website must be able to attract the right prospect, as well as build trust, provide information, offer a guided trial experience, convert, and nurture and do so without friction or confusion.

Your must build your website with a narrowly defined ideal customer, deep knowledge of their challenges and pains, and instant delivery of a strong message of differentiation. In other words, your website is a study in marketing strategy and the voice of your online presence.

It must make people feel something quickly, it must draw them into their story, it must help visitors realize quickly that you get them, and that you have what it takes to change their current reality.

This is a process, not a webpage!

Guiding the journey

The buyer holds the cards today and expects to find whatever they are looking for online. They research, read, shop, bookmark, subscribe, revisit, compare, rate and review as standard markers along the buying process.

Websites today don’t create demand, they organize behavior and this requires strategy, storytelling, research, search engine optimization, intention, AND a design that facilitates what people expect from the sites they visit.

A storytelling home page might include a message that grabs the reader right where it hurts (strategy message, SEO, trust), trust markers in the form of testimonials (trust), a story about someone who was helped (proof, education), a scannable description or two about products and services (SEO, education), a story about the person and purpose behind the brand (trust, content), more trust markers (more trust and proof), a picture of what it could be like for the reader (content, aspiration, SEO), and several compelling calls to act (trial, trust, nurture). Here’s a good example of site that practices this approach

Great web design today supports; it does not dominate.

Conversion matters

Every interaction with your site is a conversion of some sort. Guiding and stimulating the behavior of the visitor is the objective.

When a first-time visitor comes to your site your goal is to convince them to come back – that’s a conversion. When they come back your goal is to get them to stay and read some more – that’s a conversion. When they stick around your goal is to interest them in specific information that educates – that’s a conversion. When they start consuming your ebooks, newsletters, and webinars your goal is the get them to tell you about their needs and challenges – that’s a conversion.

Okay, I suspect you get it – a conversion is much more than a purchase, it’s a set of micro-commitments that lead to a profitable purchase and your site must light the path at every stage.

This is perhaps the trickiest part as every visitor is different. They have a different story, they have difference knowledge about their problem and your solution, they are often at different points in the journey and they certainly have their own way of making purchase decisions.

Conversion is about helping them make the choice that seems right for them, not about forcing then through a funnel.

Measuring every activity, click, hover, page visit, and even time on site, is the only way to start to understand what’s working and not working. It’s the only way to personalize the journey based on what you learn. True conversion nuts test and can tell you what elements of their contact us form are causing friction.

You don’t have to go that level, but heck understanding what people who respond to your Facebook Ads do when they hit your site might be an awesome first step.

SEO at the start

Great web design starts with keyword research.

Keyword research, long the workhorse of the SEO pro, is an invaluable tool when it comes to developing strategy. Keyword research not only helps you determine popular search terms, it helps you better understand your ideal client, get a deeper grasp on their problems and intentions, and reveals clues to how they find, research, and source products and services like yours.

This knowledge allows you to create the right structure for your site before you ever start choosing colors and fonts.

Understanding the story structure of your home page and subsequent main pages is how you build and use your website to attract the right clients!

Content at the heart

In the end, your website is a container for your content, pure and simple. Nice packaging helps a visitor find and consume your content, but useful content is what drives the online machine.

Of course, content for content sake isn’t what I’m referring to here. Your content must be designed with intent. You must have content that helps create awareness, content that builds trust, content that educates, content the converts and even content to stimulate referrals.

By building a website and subsequent content around the story your prospect is telling themselves you also create context and that’s the key winning conversion with your content.

Hire a storyteller

You can no longer afford to view your website as a design only adventure. Your web hub must be built with your overall marketing strategy in mind and for my money, that starts by engaging a marketing professional who begins with strategy and who can turn your strategy into a story and who can make your content the voice of strategy.

If you want to talk to me about this idea send me a note with the text – I want to talk to a storyteller.

By expectations 10 Jan, 2017

“Before the law sits a gatekeeper. To this gatekeeper comes a man from the country who asks to gain entry into the law. But the gatekeeper says that he cannot grant him entry at the moment. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to come in later on. ‘It is possible,’ says the gatekeeper, ‘but not now.'” So begins Franz Kafka’s “Before the Law,”  a short story first published in 1915 but still resonant just over a century later.

It takes no great intimacy with the work of the man who also wrote the likes of “The Metamorphosis” and The Castle , which ultimately drove his name into the lexicon as a byword  for absurdly intransigent bureaucracy and the irony of struggling against it, to figure out whether the man ever does get to see the law. Most readers now first encounter the text of “Before the Law” when they read a priest telling it to Josef K, protagonist of Kafka’s posthumously published 1925 novel The Trial . Some see it before they read it in the form of the pinscreen animation (by Alexander Alexeieff and Claire Parker, the masters of that recherché art) that precedes Orson Welles’ polarizing cinematic adaptation of the book .

A few years ago, the Barcelona-based animator Alessandro Novelli created his own update of the parable, The Guardian . Using a mixture of two- and three-dimensional animation in a stark, line-drawn-looking black and white, it envisions the man (sporting a thoroughly modern beard and pair of severely tapered pants) and his journey through mountains, woods, and cities to the gate. Once he reaches it, his lifelong standoff with the gatekeeper opens up a number of unexpected visual realms, taking us atop a chessboard, inside an alarm clock, beside falling dominos, deep underwater, and up into the night sky.

Unlike Alexeieff and Parker’s straight adaptation, The Guardian  extends the story: Kafka’s stern sentinel and his utterly impassable portal turn into a challenge aimed more at the man’s fortitude. “Wherever it is you go to now,” says the gatekeeper after he has finally given the aged and weakened protagonist his chance, “remember this gate, and that this gate existed and was opened just for you. Yet you never found the strength to cross it.” In Kafka’s original, when the gate closes, it closes with an existential finality; in Novelli’s it re-opens “for the ones who will come. For the ones who will be brave.”

Related Content:

Kafka’s Parable “Before the Law” Narrated by Orson Welles & Illustrated with Pinscreen Art

Nikolai Gogol’s Classic Story, “The Nose,” Animated With the Astonishing Pinscreen Technique (1963)

Watch Franz Kafka, the Wonderful Animated Film by Piotr Dumala

Kafka’s Nightmare Tale, ‘A Country Doctor,’ Told in Award-Winning Japanese Animation

Franz Kafka Story Gets Adapted into an Award-Winning Australian Short Film: Watch Two Men

What Does “Kafkaesque” Really Mean? A Short Animated Video Explains

By expectations 07 Jan, 2017

These days, it’s almost impossible to see a business that does not have a website. Even small businesses have taken to the Internet to find more customers and create an online presence. The problem is, with so many companies creating their own websites, yours can get lost in the shuffle. Luckily, a great web design can make a big difference. Here are five web design trends that could help increase your web traffic.


Scrolling is a convenient method for traversing a website. Instead of navigating through confusing menus and drop-down tabs, a scrolling one-page site has a cleaner look and is usually more intuitive for the user. This web design style is definitely more important today, now that people have grown more accustomed to mobile web browsing.

You also have to decide how far visitors will have to scroll to get to know your company. While a long scrolling page gives you more white space and content to work with, a short scrolling page can quickly convey your company’s message and encourages call to actions. The next time you revamp your company website, consider the appropriate scrolling element for your page.

Flat design

To achieve an optimal viewing experience for users, many companies adopted a flat design for their websites. The flat design style replaces the elements that gives an illusion of depth, like shadows and textures, with minimalist typography and colors. For example, Google employed this style to get content to viewers more efficiently. The company added flat design colors and used a sans-serif font. This allowed the logo to load faster and made it was easier to read as well.


One way businesses have been setting themselves apart from others is by including customized animations to their pages. Now this doesn’t mean you should overload your site with flashy effects that take forever to load. If you want to use animations on your site, give it a subtle twist. For instance, Slack’s loading animation features their logo.

Additionally, animations can be used to increase user interaction and engagement. Hover animations will allow your users to mouse over your content and get an immediate response without having to move between pages. Slideshows on your homepage can also showcase what your company is about without throwing too much information at the audience. When deciding to add an animation to your page, figure out how a specific effect can enhance the user experience while showcasing your business.

Full-screen forms

More websites and apps are using full-screen forms to increase user interaction. Rather than being redirected to another page when your visitors decide to register or login to a website, you are welcomed by a full-screen form without leaving the home page. This is also especially useful for mobile users since they are less likely to misclick sections of the form.

Customized photos

The next time you want to use photographs to highlight your company, forget about using stock photos. Businesses who exhibit their own photography on their homepages look more personal and stand out from the competition.

While these trends are popular at the moment, don’t blindly adopt them all because it will end up looking very messy. The best way to approach these web design trends is by making sure that the design fits your target audience. You won’t exactly have mouse over animations for a website that doesn’t have very many images. Use the trends that are best for your company.

If you want to learn more about current web design trends, give us a call.

By expectations 07 Jan, 2017
We’ve all seen exaggerated depictions of kung fu in movies or maybe a demonstration by a practitioner in real life, but German digital artist Tobias Gremmler decided to portray the Chinese martial art in an entirely new light through the use of motion capture. By capturing the motion of different sequences Gremmler is able to distill the data into these animated sculptures, effectively turning movement into structure and volume. The motion of limbs is turned into a complex moving scaffold or interpreted as dramatic bursts of particles, the visuals used to seemingly isolate the physics of kung fu. If you enjoyed this also check out films like Asphyxia , Walking City , and these similar idents for CCTV . (via The Creator’s Project , Prosthetic Knowledge )
By expectations 07 Jan, 2017

Everyone views a website as mandatory, yet few understand the exact purpose of owning one. In the 1990s and early 2000s, business owners could justify a one page website as traditional marketing still ruled the roost – print and TV. Fast forward today, digital marketing has captured the lion’s share of advertising budgets, as money follows the consumer. Mobile technology and wifi facilitate a ubiquitous internet, allowing search engines and social media to become recurring, consistent touch points with today’s consumer, regardless of age .

As web technologies continue to advance, user experience and marketing channels are increasing in entropy, becoming increasingly more complex. Whereas the web once relied on static webpages and plain text, it now showcases augmented reality, virtual reality, high res photography, flash, html5, and video. For over 20 years Christopher Silva, CEO of Crown Media Studio has remained on the cutting edge of new web technologies and graphic design. As a top web designer in Charleston, SC, his body of work encompasses true brands. Fake aspirant brands could blend in with real brands years ago, but today it’s becoming increasingly more difficult. A local business website of yesteryear was barebones, giving driving directions, a phone number and perhaps a few images. Businesses today have an opportunity to actually engage potential customers with real-time chat, virtual tours, video, dynamic navigation options, high res photography and calls to action. Big data has also co-evolved around emerging markets, mitigating guess-work, proving the worth of digital marketing through precise, positive ROI tracking . If a customer can be acquired for less than spend necessary to acquire them, a scalable new customer funnel has been established. Google Analytics and Adwords has been at the forefront, shifting mindsets from a marketing expense to a revenue producing activity.

Now Facebook, YouTube and other platforms are allowing business owners and webmasters to discern between successful campaigns and unsuccessful ones.

The genie is out of the bottle. Everyone knows it’s simply not enough to “have a website”, but to have a better web presence than ones competition, as a digital impression is often the first one a brand establishes with a new potential customer. If a web user isn’t impressed he/she is gone in 10-20 seconds . Despite this fact, many are either ill-advised or lacking a budget to create a truly inspiring web presence, let alone support it through marketing efforts. This has given rise to two distinct target markets: business owners seeking the cheapest barebone websites, and those who invest heavily into their digital presence. This further deepens the dichotomy between brands and fly-by-night companies, as now they are losing on two fronts, both real life, and virtual.

Principles of Design and Marketing


A business should be unapologetically naked to its customers: value proposition (what), ethos (why), and proof (how). Successfully exhibiting these core three traits is standard practice for successful marketing agencies such as Splendor Design Group, but a vast majority of business owners fail to answer consumer basic questions, fears, and objections. Art imitates real life, and dating is a petri dish of human habits. Just as singles only invest emotionally into people they deem physically attractive, a website starts off a shallow process, but ends in deep storytelling. Knowledge conquers many shallow preconceived notions, yet it’s impossible to edify one’s potential clients if they don’t stick around to hear your value proposition. When executed properly, even a villain is hard to hate once you know their backstory. Transparency is misinterpreted; a prospect doesn’t care if a business owner wakes up at 4am to take care of his/her grandmother; selfishly and rightly, they need to know if they will be benefit from a business relationship. If a web presence answers this positively, then added layers of emotion can be peeled back as the layer of communication and decision making furthers the prospect towards a desired outcome. In other words, if a woman’s preferred man is 6’5 with brown eyes, a shorter, blue eyed man would stand little chance, through no fault of the man (message), unless the woman gave him one. If the medium is the website, and it’s unattractive, all further communication or emotional connection is impossible. A website is a catch all opportunity to seize as much business in the open market, while staying true to one’s business. In a world of shrinking attention spans and hyper competitive markets, standing out is cliche but a principle as old as time and evolution. Birds sing, peacocks…peacock, Kangaroos flex, and the list goes on. Without drawing attention, and more importantly maintaining interest in the hearts and minds of your clients, web marketing falls short, warping back to 1990 one-way information flow. Christopher has lead by example through his agency website; a highly interactive video welcoming new visitors, detailed case studies, team member backgrounds with photos, and strong calls to action. If someone is in the market for high end custom web design, branding and marketing, the web experience helps guide the consumer into taking action through email or phone call. The antithesis is a website so poorly done a user hits the back button in search of nearby competitors. Factor in cost of acquiring new business, even just word of mouth (not including new marketing), losing business due to an unprofessional website has real world implications.

More Posts
Share by: