A Study in Style

A Study in Style

I had a phone call a few weeks ago with a prospect that I met via LinkedIn.  The company already has an overview animation, but the new Director of Marketing wasn’t thrilled with it.  In his words, “It’s so generic, all stock characters.  I think they made the same video for our competitors.”

Animation is definitely on trend, and has been for some time.  There’s good reason for it – there are processes and products that are impossible, or very expensive, to capture or explain with live action video.  With animation, if you can think of it, you can bring it to life, and connect your story to your audience in an extremely effective way.  So, yeah, we here at Solstice Productions love animation (and I hope it shows!).  

While it’s not the right answer for every business (we here at Solstice love live action video, as well), when a company does decide to turn to animation, how should you choose a production partner?

Unless you produce a large number of videos a year, or have a killer in-house graphics person, you’re unlikely to produce DIY animation.  There are some online tools you can use, but they all come with a learning curve, and, of course, your competition can make the exact same video.

So, what should you look for?  I say it all comes down to style.  Some companies produce a “Saturday morning cartoon” style, some work all in motion graphics (taking still images or text and giving them a bit of life), and others use a set stable of characters and scripts and repurpose them across multiple clients.  The first step in choosing an animation company is watching several of their animations.  Do they all look the same?  Well, that’s what yours will look like, too.  You love that look?  Go for it!

But, if you’re looking to create something that’s unique, that captures, or elevates, your brand, that your audience remembers well after it’s been seen, then you’ll want to choose a company that showcases multiple animation styles on their reel or website.  Again, make sure the styles they showcase are in line with your taste, but a company that has a diverse portfolio is a necessity for creating a unique project.

The next step?  Talk to a producer.  Find out how they work.  Do you supply the first draft of the script, or do they?  Who provides the style guide, you, them, do you collaborate on that?  At what stages in the process can you see and approve?  How do they charge?  By the project?  The hour?  The finished second?  

If you love their style, and you feel comfortable with their production process, then congrats!  You’ve found an animation partner!  Sign that contract and get to the fun part.  Then use that beautiful animation for years to come, and feel that satisfaction when your prospects say, “Oh, THAT’S what you do!”

Have an animation in mind?  Like our style?  Let’s talk!


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