With branded animation, businesses can communicate with their audience in a more engaging way than what they could do through traditional static campaigns. This article will look at the history of brand animation, how it has evolved and why it is useful today. Brand animation is an area of brand identity design and content creation that uses moving image and motion design to tell a story. This story can be about a brand, product or service and can take several forms, from simple executions to more complex films. Brand animation can also be used in advertising campaigns to build awareness of a brand while creating engagement with an audience.
Simple brand animations may use subtle motion design techniques to give a sense of movement. These can be incredibly effective when bringing a brand to life, particularly online. Complex branded animation like product explainers or architectural projections can be much more immersive and may also include sound design and lighting. These are particularly effective in fixed environments such as exhibitions, brand homes, showrooms and other experiential spaces.
The history of brand animation
Brand animation as we know it today has its roots in early 20th century American film, where some brands such as Coca-Cola implemented elements that could later be identified as brand animation techniques. These brand animations were designed to engage and entertain, which is still an essential principle of how brand animation is used today. As brands become more complex throughout the 20th century, brand identity design was also becoming increasingly important in communicating product value through both visuals and copywriting.
Brand animation found a home on television screens during this period too through title sequences, brand idents and closing credits. The goal of these brand presentations was often to distinguish programmes from their rivals when there was little opportunity for direct consumer interaction. Creatives like Saul Bass used animation to create brand identities for companies including Audi, United Airlines and AT&T.
Saul Bass’s branding work with movie studios is particularly interesting in the context of brand animation today because it demonstrates how brand identity design can be used to engage an audience through moving image. Rather than just creating a title sequence that was related to the film being shown, Bass used brand animation to create an immersive, cinematic experience.
How brand animation is used today
Many of the principles that characterised brand identity design in this period are still relevant today and have only been enhanced by new technologies. Brand animations can be created seamlessly across multiple platforms with modern software tools like After Effects, allowing brands to communicate their message with fluidity regardless of where their audience is located.
Brand animation, much like illustration, can essentially visualise thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be impossible through traditional film and photography. Animation, in its simplest form, uses many pre-planned sketches to bring these ideas into reality. In the world of brand, animation can be an incredibly powerful tool, particularly when combined with brand storytelling.
Together, these elements can build up a picture of a brand that is remembered and loved by its audiences.