Scripts for motion design vary from those of a long-form visual project. A movie, for example, will rely heavily on dialogue as well as visuals. A branded animation is a little different. With a short time to create a narrative and pass on a message, it's crucial to project the right content in a truncated period.
This is where signifiers come into play. Motion design does not rely on flat prose but kinetic text. This means that signifiers, such as symbols, can bring an idea to life and stir a visceral response in a viewer. Signifiers are also known as visual hints. Think of them as similar to musical stings and cues. At their heart, signifiers tell your audience what to think and feel based on the visuals that unfold on-screen.
In addition to cutting down on long descriptions, signifiers are also a great way to share a universal message - not everybody that watches your motion design content will be a native speaker of your language.
Coupled with an appropriate colour palette, branding, and, yes, the aforementioned sounds, signifiers take a viewer on a guided journey through a motion designer's imagination. Compelling use of signifiers in motion design will follow this law to the letter, keeping viewers rapt through a project's running time. But, of course, motion designers understand this better than anybody - as you’ll see when you watch this video.
Photo credit: Google Looking Glass by Elastic
Visual signifiers immerse viewers in a motion design universe
Motion design thrives by crafting a narrative without forcing it down the throat of the viewer. Signifiers help spin an exciting and engaging story through visual language.