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The 7 Essential Skills Of Successful Motion Designers: No Fluff, Just Facts

a monitor made by motion designers

Motion design has become a vital element in industries that rely on visuals, such as entertainment, advertising, business presentations, and more.

With advancements in technology and software motion designers are able to bring their ideas to life through animations, cinemagraphs, and title sequences.

In this article, we will dive into the seven essential skills that successful motion designers possess. These skills are crucial for creating impactful visuals that engage audiences.

By exploring these essential skills in detail, you will gain valuable insights into what it takes to excel in the field of motion design.

What do Motion Designers Do?

Simply put, motion designers create what is known as Motion Graphics.

The output of their work, known as motion graphics, can be found across various mediums such as digital applications, film, television, and advertisements.

Motion graphics are a form of design that seamlessly integrates text and design with movement. They provide a dynamic way to convey information and engage audiences effectively.

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Motion graphics can be found across various industries such as film, television advertising, and website UX design.

Motion designers are essential players in the field of visual communication. Their ability to apply graphic design principles to filmmaking and video production make them a valuable asset to businesses that want to capture and hold the attention of their audiences.

What skills do motion designers need?

To thrive in the field of motion design, certain skills are crucial, regardless of whether you’re a novice or an expert.

These essential skills, when honed collectively, empower you to produce impressive work that not only impresses your clients but also captivate and astonish their audiences.

Let’s find out what they are.

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Knowledge of Design Principles

Knowledge of design principles is fundamental for motion designers to effectively create visually appealing and cohesive motion graphics that communicate messages through captivating movement. Motion graphics designers must possess a deep understanding of design fundamentals such as composition, color theory and visual hierarchy.

By applying these principles, motion designers can ensure that their work is aesthetically pleasing and effectively conveys the intended message.

Graphic Design Skills


Graphic design skills play a crucial role in shaping the overall aesthetic and visual language of motion graphics. Motion designers must have a deep understanding of graphic design principles, after all, motion graphics would not exist without it. These skills allow them to create visually appealing and cohesive designs that capture the attention of viewers.

In addition to mastering the technical aspects of graphic design, motion designers must also possess a keen eye for detail and an ability to think critically about how their designs will be perceived by their target audience. They must consider factors such as contrast, hierarchy, and readability to ensure that their motion graphics effectively convey the intended message.

An Understanding of Animation Techniques

Animation techniques are crucial for motion graphics designers. They allow motion designers to manipulate elements, create movement, and convey meaning through motion. By understanding these techniques, motion designers can effectively communicate their ideas, evoke emotions, and enhance the overall storytelling of their projects.

Here are five key animation techniques that every motion graphics designer should be familiar with:

Keyframing: This technique involves setting keyframes at specific points in time to define the beginning and end positions of an element. The software then automatically generates the intermediate frames to create smooth movement.
Easing: Easing refers to how an object accelerates or decelerates during its animation. Different easing functions can be applied to create a sense of realism and add visual interest.
Timing and Spacing: The timing and spacing of animations determine how fast or slow an element moves on the screen. Understanding timing allows motion designers to control the rhythm and pace of their animations.
Motion Paths: Motion paths involve defining a specific path for an object to follow during its animation. This technique can be used to guide the viewer’s attention or create complex movements.
Particle Systems: Particle systems simulate the behavior of particles such as dust, smoke, or sparks. These systems allow motion designers to add intricate details and realistic effects to their animations.

3D Skills

3D elements have become increasingly prominent in motion design, making their presence felt in various applications such as 3D logos, TV show intros, commercials, and beyond. Motion designers need to possess the necessary 3D skill sets required to navigate this evolving industry successfully.

There is a plethora of 3D applications available, and it’s crucial for motion designers to invest time in learning one. It’s not recommended for motion designers to limit their focus to just 2D motion design. Broadening their skills to include 3D opens up new possibilities and opportunities for motion designers.

Storytelling Abilities

While they may not follow a narrative structure, motion graphics still have the ability to inform and educate their target audience. In order for motion graphics designers to effectively engage viewers and convey complex ideas or narratives in a concise and impactful manner, they must have a great control over their storytelling techniques.

By utilizing their storytelling abilities, motion designers can create visually compelling narratives that capture the attention of the audience and evoke emotional responses.

Typography Expertise


Typography plays a crucial role in conveying messages and evoking emotions through motion graphics. It involves the art and technique of arranging fonts and words to make written language visually appealing and readable.

In the context of motion design, typography goes beyond static images or texts on a screen; it becomes an active element that adds depth, meaning, and impact to visual storytelling.

A motion designer with strong typography expertise understands how to effectively use different fonts, sizes, weights, spacing, and alignments to create dynamic and engaging visuals. They know how to manipulate typographic elements in conjunction with movement and timing to enhance the overall narrative and evoke specific emotions.

Regardless of specific techniques, typography expertise allows motion designers to capture attention, guide viewers’ focus, and establish a cohesive visual language throughout their work. It is through their mastery of typography that they can transform words into powerful visual symbols that resonate with audiences at a subconscious level.

Technical Software Skills

Motion design requires the manipulation and animation of visual elements, which can be achieved using various software programs. A mastery of these technical skills allows motion designers to have complete control over their creations and produce high-quality motion graphics.

By honing their technical software skills in programs like Adobe After Effects, Cinema 4D, and Adobe Premiere Pro, motion designers can confidently create captivating motion graphics that align with their artistic vision. These tools provide them with the necessary control over every aspect of their work, enabling them to deliver polished animations that effectively communicate messages or evoke emotions.

Bonus: Collaboration Skills

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Collaboration is a crucial aspect of the motion design process, allowing motion designers to effectively work with others and combine their creative talents to produce compelling and cohesive motion graphics.

Within the context of motion design, collaboration often involves working closely with other members of a creative team, such as graphic designers, animators, art directors, and clients. By collaborating with these individuals, motion designers can benefit from their expertise and perspectives, resulting in a more well-rounded and polished final product.

Effective collaboration in motion design requires strong communication skills. Motion designers must be able to clearly convey their ideas and concepts to others involved in the project. This includes not only verbal communication but also visual communication through sketches, storyboards, or style frames.

Additionally, active listening skills are essential for understanding the needs and expectations of clients or team members.

Collaboration also involves being open to feedback and constructive criticism from others. By embracing different viewpoints and incorporating feedback into their work, motion designers can create a more refined end result that meets the goals of the project.

Ultimately, collaboration skills enable motion designers to harness the power of teamwork and leverage diverse perspectives in order to create impactful and visually stunning motion graphics.


Mastering these seven essential skills of successful motion designers is crucial for creating impactful and engaging visuals. With a solid foundation in design principles and graphic design skills, motion designers can effectively convey their message through captivating animations.

Great collaboration skills enable motion designers to work seamlessly with clients, fellow designers, and other stakeholders to bring their vision to fruition. Through the mastery of these skills, motion designers have the ability to create visuals that captivate viewers and leave a lasting impression.