In motion design, using animation and visual effects, the principles of graphic design are used in filmmaking and video production. Movies, animated texts, and animations are examples of motion design.

A successful motion design project is not limited to its designer. Rather, there are many steps in its pre-production process. However, many people jump straight into animation and end up running into issues that could have been avoided with better planning.

If you are making a TV commercial, music video, or animation, a strong pre-production program will make your project a success. In this article, we described the first stage of the motion design production process. In future articles, we will introduce the next steps.

The first step in motion design

Consider a client whose desired content was to introduce his company’s new products for women. Sometime after the designer’s work, he observes other portfolios. Now he has changed his mind about the initial order. We would like to introduce some old products used by children in this video.

This change is a huge structural change and will bring a lot of cost to the customer. Because he has already given the approval about the target group and other details of the work to the motion designer. Changing the content audience group from “ladies” to “ladies and children” as well as adding new products completely changes the content structure. So, the whole plan should be rethought and rewritten.

This example guide shows that before starting to create animated content, it is very important to know what the client ultimately wants from you, in order not to waste the budget and not to meet the deadline before the work is done. This is why motion design begins with empathy for the motion design audience and the discovery of the client’s needs.

The five main stages of motion graphics are empathy and discovery, definition and pre-production, ideation, implementation and production, and feedback, and result-oriented optimization.

First step: discovery

The first thing a motion graphic artist does is send a Creative Brief Questionnaire (CBQ) to the client. The CBQ consists of 15 questions that help him gather initial input to prepare for the first session on “negotiate more details”. This will save time and be efficient for all stakeholders.

In the following, we discuss some of the questions that can be asked in the form of CBQ:

1. Questions related to the goals and vision of the project

  • Briefly describe your vision. (Why do you need this video? Are there specific challenges to address?)
  • What are your goals? (Information? Auction? Increasing site visits? Converting a potential audience into an actual one?)
  • What are your main messages? (If you need more than three messages, more than one video should be produced.)
  • How do you define success indicators? (Number of views? Several shares? Define specific metrics.)
  • How and where will this video be used? Will the media advertise it?

2. Questions related to the audience

  • Who is the audience of this motion design? (Job title, age, gender, race, location, etc.)
  • How do they feel or think about your brand/product/service and why?
  • What other information do you have? What do they care about? (Ask for data or research, if available.)
  • Mention what you want your audience to do after the motion.

3. Other questions

  • Should we use new images or existing images? Is this content part of a campaign?
  • Who are your competitors?
  • Can you share some related videos? (This will help you understand the style and field of activity.)
  • What are the elements that we should use in the content? (URL, call to action, etc.)
  • Who is responsible for confirming the output of our work? (Ask for a list of team members’ contact information.)
  • What is the budget for this project? (It is important in determining the work approach.)
  • When is the project delivery deadline? (When is it good for you? When should you have it? Why?)

Good and creative designers spend a significant amount of time understanding their clients and audience, as well as how the project is intended to be used. This helps uncover specific insights that may be used throughout the process. In organizational terms, this research stage is called account planning.

For example, if all your competitors use a certain look and feel, you need to decide how you want to differentiate yourself from them. You can appear above the general competition level. Find your niche and use the insight you gain from your research to develop a creative strategy.

Meeting to discover the needs and tastes of the customer

If possible, it’s best to meet your customers face-to-face so you can better understand their needs. If customers are out of town, consider at least one online meeting to gauge their reactions. Establishing relationships and of course, effective communication is essential in this process.

In the discovery phase, you should ask a lot of questions. Questions that help you understand what your customers want. Some customers are annoyed by too many questions. But the motion designer must ask questions to understand the persona of the audience. Ultimately, this is the only way to clarify what you are working on and trying to achieve. If you ask “why” enough, you’ll start to figure things out.

Customer training

It is very important to educate customers, especially if they have no previous experience in this field. Everyone involved in the project should know how important the different stages of work and approval are at different stages. Because

  • The motion designer starts to create ideas when the framework of the work is approved.
  • After approving the story, he switches the storyboard,
  • Once the storyboard is approved, the animation production process begins.

This chain approval process helps to continuously plan the project and prevent unexpected events. Remember, motion graphic artists do this every day. If you don’t teach your customers the process, then you shouldn’t be confused about what they should or shouldn’t do next.

From the beginning, define all the roles of the project and consider a specific person as the producer. The producer is the project manager and is responsible for managing things at the right time. He or she sets up meetings, diagnoses, and resolves program problems, manages the team, and controls budgets and schedules.

Triple-C feedback

Finally, it is necessary to emphasize the importance of what is called Triple-C feedback. The feedback provided by each stakeholder should have the following conditions:

  • Clear means direct, without exaggeration, without compliments, and only on a clear path;
  • Concise means short, easy to understand, with simplicity in marking lists and addressing products;
  • Consolidated means getting feedback from the whole team.

Unclear or delayed feedback is the main reason projects go off track. Late submission of stakeholder comments can disrupt the project. It’s not uncommon to receive feedback from a senior executive or other executives after a final draft of a motion has been completed, but it’s very unpleasant. Because eventually, you have to explain to your customer that it is possible to make changes; but it will require more cost and delay in the delivery of the work.

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