Styles of Explainer Videos

Explainer videos can be made using several styles of animation which could appeal to a wide range of audience profiles.

There are various styles of animation that are especially suited to make explainer videos with.

Below we provide descriptions and examples of these animations styles as well asa few suggestions as to which particular type of explainer video is each animation style particularly suited to.

Animation Style: 2D and Cartoon Animation

Description: Two-Dimensional, or 2D, animation is the process of giving drawings the illusion of movement for educational, entertainment and now for marketing purposes too. Cartoons are a classic example of 2D animation that works wonders in engaging audiences of all ages.

Once upon a time, back in the days where computers were something of a dream, animations were created through repetitive drawing on cel acetates so that the characters came across as having different expressions and performing actions.

This was a rather laborious process which has now been replaced with computing technologies and various animation software programmes. This has made replicating characters much easier and quicker, reducing production schedules greatly.

More and more marketers are coming to realise that the dynamism of 2D and Cartoon animations can be used to market and promote brands engagingly, entertainingly and effectively. 

If you think of the huge success which certain animated brand characters have (e.g. the ones promoting Kellogg’s cereal brands) your brand could be the next one to set an example for everyone else.

Suitable For: 2D animation has successfully marketed these brands to audiences for several years, right from brands of cereal, tea and energy drinks to feminine hygiene products!  So, whether your brand sells perishable items or financial investment services, whether you wish to educate your audience by communicating an important message, you could use 2D or Cartoon animations as a style for your explainer video.

Animation Style: 3D Animation

Description: 3D animation is the process of giving the illusion of movement to images, graphics, characters and shapes through CGI (i.e. Computer Generated Imagery) technology.

While a 2D animation refers to flat images, i.e. images that have length and width, 3D animation has a third dimension added to these two, i.e. it has length, width and height.

This gives images a realism that is ‘live’ and makes animated characters, shapes and objects, life-like.

No matter how general or specific the profiles of your target audience is, 3D animation engages audiences through a creative concoction of CGI technology, colour, storyline, plots, moods, background music, dialogue and narration.

This concoction works wonders in boosting viewership figures, website traffic, brand awareness and even online conversion rates.

What also gives 3D animation an edge is it can mesh the traditional values and principles of advertising and business (e.g. AIDA and the Hierarchy Effects models) with modern creative technologies to produce 3D animations that add value to your marketing efforts.

Suitable For: 3D animations are more known for being used to make animated movies, television programmes, television and online advertisements.

However, explainer videos are also made using 3D animation for the purpose displaying medical models and architectural designs, add much more realism and life-like quality. 


Animation Style: Stop Motion Animation

Description: The process of making a static object – of any size, shape and dimension – is known as stop motion animation. 

The way it works is an object is placed in various positions and is photographed in each of these positions. These photographs are then sequenced together in an editing suite and when the final product is played, one sees that the static object seems to be moving.

This clever and fascinating style of animation is used to make feature films and television programmes, e.g. The Corpse Bride, Wallace and Gromit, Coraline and so forth. 

If you make an explainer video using stop motion animation as your chosen style, your brand could have a better chance of standing out from the crowd because messages are communicated innovatively, leaving a lasting, memorable impression in the minds of your audience.

This creates more interest in your brand and what it has to offer to them. 

Additionally, you could re-use certain elements of your stop motion animation by adding them to your existing marketing collateral. 

For instance, you could use specific images from your stop motion animation and use it as the desktop backgrounds for your office computers, tablets and smartphones; or as a part of your letterhead in your business correspondence.

Suitable For: Stop Motion animations are recently being used to make explainer videos that promote products and services as well as convey informative messages.


Animation Style: Whiteboard Animation

Description: If you want to wow your audience with your explainer video then choosing whiteboard animation as your style may be just what you need. 

The animation comprises of the artist’s hand drawing and writing the video to life, all the way through from start to finish.

It leaves audiences deeply impressed and helps them remember brands as a result of watching an explainer video made with whiteboard animation.

If you would like your explainer video to reflect a variety of moods and themes that relate a wide range of purposes and subjects, then whiteboard animation can also help you.

Being technologically dexterous and MarComms savvy, whiteboard animation is ideal to make explainer videos for promotional, communicative (both to internal and external audiences) as well as educative purposes. 

If you would like to convey messages that are complex in nature and are looking for ways that could express this simply; you can do this with the comprehensible appearance that comes with incorporating whiteboard animation as the animation style for your explainer video.

Suitable For: As it says on the tin, explainer videos are great for explaining! By using whiteboard animation you could make explainer videos that communicate important messages, ideas and concepts; demonstrate how products and services work and make educative videos for professional and academic purposes.