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Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 3 Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference?
Review: 4 - Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference?

Here’s your ultimate guide to understanding the peculiarities of animation and motion graphics, when and why to use them.

Whether it’s polishing the look of your website or adding some style to an app, animation and motion graphics appear on the scene. Moving elements attract the attention and keep users engaged. They result in better traffic and higher conversions. The numbers are impressive: only motion graphics increase conversions by 80%.

At the point where you decide to use animated videos, you come up with the question. Is there any difference between motion graphics vs animation? Indeed there is. Yet, it may not be obvious at first sight. We would bet that your clients consider animation motion graphics as any moving pictures. 

Comparing animation vs motion graphics, we’ve defined some features that make them different yet attractive. 

In this article, we will shed light on the difference between motion graphics and animation. Also, we will tell you when it’s better to use them and how they can contribute to the benefit of the business.

What are motion graphics?

The easiest explanation is that motion graphics is a design element that has been animated. We take a static design and give it some movement. This movement is a supporting element to the story, but it cannot serve as storytelling by itself.

Josh Miles, President and Chief Creative Officer of Killer Visual Strategies, says about motion graphics: “At their core, motion graphics explain information visually. For some, that might mean introducing new HR initiatives to a large workforce; for others, it might mean showing off a new product to wider audiences. We also see motion graphics used as an educational tool, woven into video footage in order to further explicate a key point or message. Whatever the end goal, motion graphics offer a flexible and ever-evolving way to explain your information through visual communication.”

In fact, the definition of motion graphics determines the difference between graphic designer vs animator. A graphic designer is the one who creates static pictures. An animator is the one who brings some action and life to the image.

To be more descriptive with the difference between graphics and animation, we selected some examples that explain what happens when we add a movement.

Statics: logo

Motion design: spinning logo.

Motion design by Aslan Almukhambetov

Statics: character

Motion design: сharacter is winking

Motion design by Aslan Almukhambetov

Statics: the text is on the screen

Motion design: texts appear on the screen


Motion design by Mate Miminoshvili

Static: button

Motion design: button is turning red when the entered password is incorrect

Motion design by Aaron Iker

Interesting fact: although all these examples belong to motion graphics, some would call them motion design. Comparing motion design vs motion graphics, we find out that the first definition is the border. The second one implies the usage of graphics, not cinematography or other techniques.

For Streamline Water, using motion graphics turned into business growth. With the help of visualization, the company demonstrated its technologies (water cooling) and educated clients about the potential risks of using out of the date technologies. As a result, the leads increased by 90%, the conversion rate grew from 10% to 50%, and pitch time was reduced by 20 minutes.

What is animation?

Animation by Vladislav Olshevsky

So what is the difference between motion graphics and animation?

Animation has a long story. In fact, all the cartoons we loved in childhood are animation. In the digital world, the animation is also concentrated on cinematic effects. Also, it actively uses storytelling. 

In fact, motion design takes its roots in animation. Many motion graphic elements can create an animation. At the same time, animation can be split into various motion graphics elements. Comparing 2d animation vs motion graphics, the first one embraces more actions, effects, and techniques required.

Additionally, the animation is always based on a story. This is a strong storytelling tool that is often more attractive for users than plain text narration. It evokes emotions and helps to build a connection with the users.

As Walt Disney once said, “Animation offers a medium of storytelling and visual entertainment which can bring pleasure and information to people of all ages everywhere in the world.”

So how does animation look compared to the motion design? 

  • Motion design: spinning logo.

Animation: a magician pulls a rabbit out of the hat, then he pulls a bunch of flowers, and next – the logo. He touches the logo with a wand, turning red, yellow, green, and sparkling. Applause!

  • Motion design: сharacter is winking

Animation: a character, an attractive young woman, putting red lipstick on her lips, looks in the mirror. Next, she’s winking at you.

  • Motion design: texts appear on the screen

Animation: a mobile phone appears, and a man is typing a message. The message appears on the screen.

  • Motion design: button is turning red when the entered password is incorrect

Animation: a 1-minute video explaining what happens when you enter a wrong password and what to do if you forgot it.

At this point, we come to the understanding that different objectives guide motion graphic designer vs animator. Motion graphic designer creates just a moving pic, while an animator creates the whole story.

Animation can be used to create an explainer, promotional, how-to, and any other type of videos your clients prefer. If you don’t know what kind of animation should be first, here are some numbers to help you choose. 94% of people watch explainer videos, and 93% of millennials watch how-tos. You can use these statistics to decide on what kind of video to create first.

Motion graphics vs. animation

Internet users love videos. Brands love to use videos for presenting their products. It seems that animated content is conquering the world. Sure it does. But the choice of animated content must be wise.

The goal of content is the determining factor to decide whether you choose between animator vs motion designer. Let’s make clear how to make the right decision.

When to use motion graphics

Motion graphics are a perfect option for situations when you need to illustrate your ideas or explain a complex thing in a, literally, motion. Besides, it is less time-consuming, and you can use it more frequently than animation.

Thus, you need to put your goals first if you choose between motion graphics vs video editing. Perhaps, at this stage, you need to save some money, and animation and video content production won’t help you with that.

Motion design is a powerful tool for adding a personal touch to visual communications. For a business, one can use it for:

  • improving user experience and interaction design
  • strengthening brand image
  • engaging users and making them stay longer on the website or social media page
  • drawing attention to important information 
  • explaining complex ideas 

When to use other animation techniques

Emotions can build a strong connection between a brand and a client. In many cases, videos are the best way to evoke proper emotions and create a story that will capture the clients.

Let’s imagine that you have enough money and time. In this case, motion graphics vs animation problem is solved easily. Create animation!

Like motion design, animation can solve various business problems:

  • evoking emotions
  • building trust
  • improving conversion rate
  • increasing time spent at the website (according to statistics, spent time increases by 88%)
  • generating interest of the audience.

Marketing in motion

No matter what you choose for your business: animation vs motion graphics, it will better affect customer engagement.

For example, animation motion graphics videos improve the performance of blog articles and social media posts. According to statistics, 85% of marketers state that video content is a more effective way to get attention online. Try to use these techniques on the landing pages, and you’ll notice the difference.

You can use animation and motion graphics to describe your products and services, entertain users with stories, give recommendations, show usage of the product, and much more.

The future of motion graphics

Despite the difference between motion graphics and animation, the future of these techniques is predetermined. Soon it will displace static and will become one of the main forms to present content. 

AR technologies are now capturing the world, and they cannot exist without animation and motion graphics. Why not start using them now?

We believe that now you know the real difference between motion graphics and animation. No matter what you choose for your business, you’ll love the results.

Are you ready to give a try to motion graphics or animation but do not know where to start? Fireart Studio will gladly help you to create engaging content that you can use on your website on social media. Don’t hesitate to contact us anytime you have an idea to add some movement to the static images.


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Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 20 Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 21 Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 22 Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 23 Motion Graphics vs. Animation: Is There a Difference? 24