With the rise of the smartphone app, icons have become increasingly indispensable to the way we navigate the technology around us – an iPhone homescreen without app icons is almost unimaginable. While icons have played a role in GUI interaction since, well, the earliest GUIs were developed, we tend to think of icons as belonging… Read more »
Enhancing your Website with custom Website Illustrations The use illustrations can be a powerful artistic tool in web design and can make a website truly unique. Working with a good illustrator to create a design which reflects the product or service the website offers can result in a great outcome: a timeless, distinctive website which… Read more »
As psychology teaches us, humans are fundamentally social creatures. Even the most seemingly isolated individual act is a social one. Signing up to a website might seem to involve nobody other than the person sitting at their computer, but what they are actually entering into is a complex social relationship made up of many different… Read more »
Technology is forever being used in new and exciting ways. That’s why it’s important that you consider all sorts of different target audiences in your design work. This includes children. Programs and operating systems are increasingly being designed with kids in mind. For example, with the launch of the Windows 8 operating system for Windows… Read more »
There are some simple, basic methods of good icon design which can yield great results if they are followed. Sometimes some designers stray too far from the basics by trying to be too original. Originality is important, but it’s also important to remember the basics. Here we outline some easy, memorable keys to effective icon… Read more »
Lately there’s been a lot of talk of how the ‘flat icon’ has come to dominate interface design across all different platforms. The flat icon trend can be seen as a conscious effort by developers to return to basics when it comes to design. Of course, the ideal icon is one that explains its function… Read more »
Although a good proportion of the icon design projects we work on follow an established icon style, such as those found in mobile Apps like iOS and Android or desktop software icons like Microsoft Office and Windows 7, the greatest demand is generally for custom icons in a unique style. Despite the shift in popularity… Read more »
Icon design is ever evolving. As new platforms embrace the use of icons, new terms and references are dreamt up and older terms fall out of favour. This glossary is an ongoing project to document the icon design lexicon. Contributions are very welcome. 16×16 Pixel Icons This icon size has its own entry here because… Read more »
Here is another great comic style illustration from David, one of my favourite Icon Designers at Creative Freedom. This time we have a Super-Villain with a decidedly bad temper which I am sure fans of the 2000 A.D. Comic will have no trouble recalling. Comic Style Icon Design Judge Dredd Icons & Illustration As a… Read more »
As any designer knows, planning can (and often does) make up the bulk of creative work. This might sound obvious, but the better you plan, the better your work will often turn out. I’ve spoken in the past about the importance of developing your own planning process (see this page) in design. The same rings true for motion graphics and animated work.
Storyboarding is a particularly popular method for planning any sort of visual media project, whether it’s a live-action TV episode or shorter app content. This is because storyboarding allows designers and animators to combine scripts with their own creative vision. It also gives you something to appease your clients whilst your work is on-going, allowing them to return any feedback to you prior to the actual animation work beginning. I’m going to talk today about a few ways in which you can start thinking about ‘process’ when it comes to working with motion graphics, and in particular how you can make storyboarding techniques work for you.
Starting a new project
Just like with icon design, motion graphics projects usually involve some level of consultation and a design ‘brief’ between the designer and the client. The key difference, though, is that motion graphics often involves a pre-written script from which to work from. So the main things you should be asking a client in the consultation stages should be about any tone, character and style specifications they are looking for in the animated piece. This is the key thing you should be taking away for your final designs.
Types of storyboard
One of the most common types of storyboards best-suited to motion graphics work is called a ‘treatment’. Sketches are obviously the foundation of any storyboard, as you try to visualise on paper how you are going to translate the script into a final project. A treatment combines sketches and script side by side, tying the visual elements you’re going to create together with the script’s contents and concepts.
The main advantage of a conventional storyboard such as a treatment is that it allows clients to see your line of thought and give feedback before the real work begins, rather than you spending days on a sequence that they then don’t like. Another advantage is that it acts as an artefact for you and any other collaborators to work around and communicate through.
Particularly if you’re pitching a new idea to a client, or they’re particularly picky, it helps to fully develop your storyboard and concept art. One way you can do this is through style frames.
“Style frames are meant to indicate what would be the visual style of the animation.” MCKIBILLO
These are images of single ‘frames’ to demonstrate the overall style of what the final animation might look like. As you can see in the picture below, they look like screenshots from a full animation. They are a big step up from storyboard sketches and can perfectly complement your storyboards and your creative dialogue with a client, as they give the viewer a much greater feel for where a motion graphics work is going.
Kristian Mercado sums up the aim of style frames best:
“I like to try to weave narrative into a single image, I give the audience a small piece, but I make sure that glimpse allows them to visualize the rest of the world, so most of the work ideally happens in the imagination.”
By combining traditional storyboard techniques with style frames and other methods, motion graphics work becomes easier in almost every way.