5 Core Skills for Every Motion Graphics Designer

Working as a motion designer or animator, can be tough, we have to tackle impending deadlines, creative block (err, gross!), and a series of creative or technical demands. Striping things back to basics, here are a few of the core skills that should help you on your way.

Creative Thinking

When you start your work, there may be little or no creative input from your client – though a full creative brief is ideal, at times that’s partly what they are paying you for! Think outside the box, be innovative, challenge the norm; you need to turn what can sometimes be a dry or boring concept into something that is engaging and captivating.


Appreciation of Animation

Understanding how objects move and interrelate is vital when working as an animation designer. Animation is more than throwing together a few key frames in After Effects; you need to understand the fundamentals of how objects move - and relay this into your work. This approach creates professional effects rather than robotic and jerky sequences.

Traditional Art Skills

Having experience in traditional art skills such as sketching and painting will give you an eye for colour, proportion and context. This will help you create animations that flow and reflect real life. - particularly when creating sketchy or abstract effects.

Graphic Design

This skill is often overlooked, but the fact remains that all motion design is basically a digital blend of many graphic elements. The success of most animated effects are often a reflection of the skill employed in the static state – this is particularly true when animating icons.


Although this will not directly improve your skills as a designer, in my experience, in any job, communication is key. Effective communication will help to convey your creative mind, ideas and passion to non-creative people. Communication helps jobs run smoothly, keeps clients informed and is a great way to create new ideas.

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