Over the last decade, motion design has become an increasingly important skill for every creative to have. And the last few months have only accelerated this trend. With traditional filming made impossible by lockdown, motion design has jumped in to fill the gap, and designers and illustrators boasting this ability have been more in demand than ever.
Written by: Tom May
In association with Created
In short, whatever stage you're at in your career, it's a great time to get some professional training in motion design. We recommend Created, whose hands-on courses are delivered in partnership with some of the biggest and best names in the industry. You'll get all the skills and personal development you'll need to succeed in motion design, not to mention an interview-ready portfolio, filled with work based on real-world briefs. All delivered in a flexible way that you can combine with study, part-time work, or even full-time work.
Meanwhile, if you're seeking visual inspiration, then the web is chock-full of amazing motion designers to follow. In this article, we bring together 23 of the best – in no particular order.
Describing himself as a "frame-by-frame enthusiast", Henrique Barone is a freelance animator and creative director based in Vancouver, Canada. From creating crazy motion to subtle and tranquil moments for advertising, music videos, TV shows and social media campaigns, he loves to "tune an illustrator's style and make it move, understanding, and respecting its language while focusing on the range of emotions the frames can convey". Henrique recently partnered with the illustration agency, Handsome Frank, to bring a variety of illustrators' work to life.
2. Cindy Suen
Cindy Suen is an illustrator, animator, and GIF artist from Hong Kong, currently living in New York. With an evident love for cute cats, her Asian-influenced, 3D motion graphics are a joy to behold.
3. Jaedoo Lee
Jaedoo Lee is an illustrator and animator based in New York. His work often uses thin outlines with bold saturated colours, and he claims that his illustrations, in particular, are often just "corny jokes". He is currently represented by Jacky Winter Group.
4. Eva Cremers
Eva Cremers is a 3D illustrator from the Netherlands with clients including Apple, Nike and the New York Times. Her style is characteristically bold, bright and wonderfully eye-catching, and will inspire any motion designer working today. Check out her new website, which channels some serious Willy Wonka vibes.
5. Pablo Rochat
An art director based in San Francisco, Pablo Rochat taps into online culture to create fun content for brands. With clients including Facebook, Netflix, Instagram and Airbnb, his motion design work often evokes the feel of the early web, to brilliant effect.
Andrei Staruiala is an Edinburgh-based freelance motion designer working on commercials, brand films, music promos, short films and animations. His work covers a range of artistic styles, from isometric to painterly, but he always brings a fresh perspective that makes it distinctively his.
Rosie Phillpot is a freelance animator and illustrator based in Cheltenham, UK. Specialising in 2D animation, motion graphics and digital illustration, Rosie works for a wide range of clients from global brands to local agencies and start-ups. Names she's already worked with include Microsoft, O2, IBM, and Virgin Atlantic.
8. Mikey Dowdle
Mikey Dowdle works as a motion designer and animator at Art&Graft, an independent, award-winning studio based in London, UK. His 3D motion graphics are infused with verve and cheekiness that will instantly put a smile on your face. Drawn mostly to 3D characterful animation, Mikey says he's influenced by geometric shapes and bold colours – "Probably a bi-product of my graphic design background," he says.
9. Stephen Ong
Stephen Ong is an animator, designer and film-maker based in the UK who uses playful design and animation to tell short stories. There is an immediate energy and vibrancy to his work that makes it stand above the crowd.
10. Marco Cheatham
Marco Cheatham is an art director and illustrator based in St. Louis, Missouri. His work is focused on both editorial and motion design. And he's a big fan of simple shapes and bold colours to create playful characters and simple narratives in his work.
11. Eleanor Ngai
Eleanor Ngai is a design-driven motion graphics designer and illustrator from New Zealand who is currently freelancing from London. With clients including Red Bull Studios, Reggie Yates, Nickelodeon, Facebook and Coca Cola, her work is hip, on-trend and full of energy.
12. Julian Glander
Julian Glander is a well-known 3D artist and animator based in the USA. His goofy and larger-than-life motion design work, for clients including Adult Swim, Disney and LeBron James, is quite simply like nothing else around.
13. Louis Wes
With a passion for nostalgia and bright colour, Louis Wes is definitely someone to have on your radar. Currently based in New Jersey, originally from California, he's an illustrator and animator who's done projects for everyone from Apple, Facebook and Google to Target, CNN, and Red Cross.
14. Marta Azaña
Born and raised in Madrid and now living in Bristol, UK, Marta Azaña is a freelance motion designer and animator. She collaborates with clients to create explainer videos, animated logos and GIFs as well as illustrations and artwork for animations, which are typically vibrant, stylish and irresistibly eye-catching.
15. Paul McMahon
Paul McMahon, aka The Rusted Pixel, is a 3D director/designer based in Donegal, Ireland, with strong illustration and motion skills. Working in CINEMA4D for 10 years, he's a self-taught artist who is mostly driven by experimenting and trying to evolve his style. His bold, colourful and often atmospheric work is deceptive in its simplicity and bursting with playful charm.
16. Tony Babel
Tony Babel is a multidisciplinary designer, animator and illustrator from Israel specialising in rich animations for digital products. His looping animations, inspired by vintage cartoons, are utterly entrancing.
17. Lana Simanenkova
An Estonian living in London, Lana Simanenkova is a freelance animator and illustrator. There's a lovely feel to her motion design work, which combines the best of old-school animation with a contemporary flat-design approach.
18. Andrius Vizbaras
Andrius Vizbaras is a London-based motion designer who trained with Created. Working freelance since last November, he's already worked on an advert for O2, and his portfolio is full of dramatic and dazzling 2D and 3D motion work.
19. Nuria Boj
Nuria Boj is a freelance illustrator and motion designer based in Edinburgh, Scotland who works for international clients and animation studios. She always offers a unique and original point of view that can't be mistaken for anyone else's.
20. Samantha Jones
Samantha Jones is a freelance animator and director based in Manchester, UK. If you're looking for a great example of how to bring traditional 2D illustration to moving life, you won't find better, and her artful looping experiments are a joy to behold.
21. Erica Anderson
Erica Anderson is Belgium-born American on a quest to "make fine art that moves". A freelancer by day, a GIF maker by night, her clients include the likes of Jai Wolf, Manila Killa, Lionsgate and MIT. Check out her loops and abstract animations for an instant hit of inspiration.
22. Andy Evans
Andy Evans is a motion designer based in London with over seven years' experience creating content for broadcast, live events and social, collaborating with the likes of BBC, Rolls Royce and Tesco. A master of the motion design collage, his work mashes up photography and illustration, 2D and 3D, to brilliant effect.
23. Devon Moodley
Devon Moodley is a South African born, New Zealand raised motion graphics designer pushing keyframes from Amsterdam to the world. We love this piece he animated for illustrator Eleanor Ngai.