2020 Animated Explainer Trends

Natalie Squance - January 14, 2020

So you’ve decided to create an animated explainer for your brand –  good thinking! But, knowing where to start can be the trickiest part of a project like this. It’s all about those meaningful questions:

  • Who will the animation serve?
  • What problem will it solve?
  • What objectives are you hoping to achieve?

The next important question: what do you want it to look like? Once you’ve established what you’re doing and why, you need to align the visuals with the purpose. Getting the styling right is paramount: it must reflect, engage and interest the desired viewer. 

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to serve up a platter of inspiration. Having stared into our crystal ball of design, we foresee a few trends leading the way in the coming year…

Style 1: Celestial Gradients

Like the opening credits of a sci-fi movie, the movement of shapes and gradients can create a dark, cosmic feel. Gradients have dominated many trends in the last year, and we predict an evolution into the more simple and abstract.

Ideal for an animated explainer with a complex voiceover. The simplicity of shapes and colours will create the right mood without distracting from the content.

Credit: Jose A. Ortiz

Style 2: New Rave Mixed Media

A lot of ‘90s trends have resurfaced in recent years: it’s the decade that just won’t back down. Along with bucket hats and the Spice Girls, new rave graphics are alive and kicking and don’t show any signs of crawling back to the archives.

Best suited to brands with a predominantly millennial or gen-Z demographic, this sort of style allows for versatility through a mix of media. Photography can showcase products or people while striking graphics and typography tie it all together.

Credit: Jordan River-Low

Style 3: 1970s Textbook 

Flick through the pages of an old ‘70s manual or textbook and, along with the fusty echo of pipe smoke, you’ll notice a distinct style that embodies the decade. With advancements in print technology, strong typography and bold pops of block colour are typical of the era.

As imagery is not often associated with the style, this would work well for a text-heavy animation: visually striking in its simplicity.

Credit: Karel Martens
Credit: Pure Typography

Style 4: Seamless Transitions

After a huge rise in 2D vector animation, we’ve now moved – quite literally – into another dimension. Shapes and characters are rigged with a virtual skeleton, brought to life through movement, perspective and their 3D environment. This trend can be taken a step further through seamlessly transitioning from one scene to another, creating a fluidity that’s almost hypnotic to watch. 

With this form of animation, the only limitations are your own imagination, so no style or narrative is off-limits. Perfect for illustrating a story or process using only visuals, or for brands looking to push creative boundaries.

Credit: koycegiz

Style 5: Japanese Pop Adverts

From the intricacy of ancient calligraphy to the cuteness of kawaii, Japanese culture is forever a staple influence in western design. Illustrated Japanese ads often feature bold, simple use of colour, shape, line-work and typography, along with quirky, cartoon-like imagery. Stylish but playful.

This modern marriage of text and illustration lends itself to animated infographics. Get complicated subject matter across simply (as well as making your brand look very cool).

Credit: Fxckdown
Credit: Fxckdown

Champing at the bit to get your explainer project on its way? Give us a shout and we can talk you through our animation process.