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15 Different Types of Animation Styles for Marketing



There are good reasons why you wouldn’t eat steak for breakfast or drink a hot cup of joe to quench your thirst. It doesn’t mean you will stop being a huge coffee geek or that you can’t appreciate a nice, juicy cut when appropriate. It just means that different foods fulfill different appetites.

The same thing happens with explainer video types!

Certain videos appeal to some marketing objectives better than others. And with so many different styles of videos out there, it can be easy to fall into a bit of analysis paralysis. Leaving you unsure of the most effective one to take for your business or current marketing campaign.

This piece is here to fix that! We’ll go over different cartoon styles meant for marketing purposes, reviewing their particular strengths and how to use them best.

1. On Making Amazing Animated Explainer Videos

One important point to make before going through that list is that style alone doesn’t make an awesome animation.

While different types of animation styles or live-action footage can indeed resonate better with some audiences, there are several important characteristics that most types of videos used in marketing should address in some way or another.

  • Quality: Online, people will gauge the reliability of your product or service by the quality of your content. Making the right first impression with high-quality content is paramount.
  • Targeting: Generic videos are quickly dropped and forgotten about. Building explainers with precise target audiences in mind is a great way to have them work as intended.
  • Branding: Color selection, logo placement, jingles… all these branding elements are present and used expertly in the different cartoon styles that work for marketing purposes.
  • Rhythm: Pacing is critical in explainer videos. Timing the action and story just the right way helps keep audiences entertained and engaged until the end.
  • Message: A video that lacks a clear message, or isn’t able to convey it clearly, can’t live up to their company’s expectations.

Doubtless, having a reliable team of professionals to get this covered will make it easier. Need help creating explainer videos? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

Video marketing guide for 2020

2. 15 Effective Types of Animation Styles

Now that you understand the main aspects that make these videos great, it’s high time we jumped into the meat and potatoes of the piece and review 15 different cartoon styles:

  • 2D Character Animation
  • Motion Graphics Animation
  • Whiteboard Animation
  • 5D Animation
  • 3D Animation
  • Stop Motion
  • Typography
  • Screencast Video Style
  • Live-Action
  • Live-Action with 2D Animation
  • Rotoscope Animation
  • Mechanical Video Animation
  • Cut-Out Animation
  • HUD Animation
  • Plexus Video Animation

Each of these different types of animation styles is used in today’s marketing, depending on the company’s size, audience, or industry. So let’s break each one down and see what makes them great.

2.1. 2D Character Animation

It isn’t surprising that we start this list with 2D animation, as it is one of the most popular and broadly implemented explainer video types in use today. And for a bunch of good reasons too!

Here, both characters and scenes are created in a two-dimensional space, using perspective to give the illusion of depth. The 2D animation video style is highly versatile, allowing for insane customization that, when done right, leads to an emotion-evoking piece that can appeal directly to its intended audience.

2.2. Motion Graphics Video Style

Similar to 2D character animation, motion graphic animations are primarily characterized by being engaging and straightforward.

It’s an ideal style for companies trying to showcase complex products or services – like in the tech industry – as the style works wonders at visually synthesizing huge amounts of information, quickly and effectively.

In these types of videos, clever use of graphics help illustrate your message, without getting in the way or distracting from the intended marketing goal behind it. Fresh, colorful, and dynamic, motion graphic videos hook viewers from the get-go.

2.3. Whiteboard Animation

One of the most used types of animation styles for B2C and B2B. The whiteboard style provides the perfect platform to delve deeper into a product, service, or process’ details. It consists of simulating black-line graphics being drawn on a white background, illustrating the concepts or ideas in play.

The popularity of this explainer video type lies in its effectiveness, as the dynamic graphics and animations do a great job of delivering complex messages while keeping the audience engaged. Using a streamlined type of cartoon style that results in a straightforward and to-the-point finish.

2.4. 2.5D Animation Style

The main draw behind this video animation style is to simulate a 3D environment. The technique consists of layering objects to create a more sophisticated and fluid piece – Like watching cut-outs moving in a 3D-like space, even though every element is designed in 2D.

It combines all the benefits of a motion graphics animation but, since it emulates a different cartoon style, its visual effect delivers a more unique, professional, and engaging piece. And it does it without the added hassle and expense of 3D animation.

WSP | Explainer Video by Yum Yum Videos

2.5. 3D Animation Style

Out of the many different types of animation styles, 3D stands out for delivering a state-of-the-art, high-quality finish. Its unique aesthetic feel makes it easier for some audiences to get immersed in what’s being shown, as action can rotate around or zoom into the graphics for narrative emphasis.

However, this type of video style is sparsely used for commercial purposes, as producing 3D animations can be quite expensive and difficult to get the desired result. Add to that the longer production times – as any change or adjustment requires more time to implement – and 3D might not be the best choice when time or budget is a concern.

2.6. Stop Motion Video Style

These pieces employ a particular video animation style, using a technique for photographing an object as it’s moved in small amounts, creating the illusion of motion when played. You have most likely seen these types of videos used in some animated films that take advantage of this truly unique effect.

While unique and interesting, the major drawbacks for this type of animation style are its cost and the lack of flexibility to change or fix problems halfway through the production process. And even when you go the route of simulating the style in a 3D animated environment, costs and adaptability remain issues to deal with.

2.7. Typography Explainer Video Type

Based on the animation of typographic fonts to express ideas. While it might seem overly simplistic – and… it is – it’s still an available tool that can fit perfectly with certain projects.

By clever implementation of fonts and animation, this type of cartoon style can do a great job of underlining and reinforcing specific passages and make them remain in your audience’s memory.

Book Trailer: The Miriam Black Novels by Chuck Wendig

2.8. Screencast

Digital recordings of screen captured footage, backed up by narration – It really doesn’t get any simpler than this! However, that’s not the same to say it won’t be the perfect match for some pieces.

It’s one of the most common types of animation styles for startups – especially in the tech sector – as it does a great job communicating a process through video at a low cost. Double that when it comes to tutorials.

2.9. Live-Action

Although we’re aware that live-action isn’t a type of cartoon style, we decide to include it here as it is one of the most frequently used types of video styles in marketing.

Thus, it should come as no surprise that it can also be used as an explainer video type. In live-action, everything is recorded using cameras and real people. It’s a good idea if you are looking to establish a connection between specific individuals from your organization and your potential customers.

It is a common style for testimonial videos, for instance, the one we produced from the experience our friends at Collaboration Squared had working with us:

Collaboration Squared - Testimonial Video

2.10. Live-Action with 2D Animation

These are pieces that combine live video footage integrated with elements and animation that are tracked to the video. The idea behind these types of videos is to create the feeling of interaction between the graphics and the video, with the added features of dynamism, rhythm, and visual display, producing a more enjoyable journey for the viewer.

Having live-action footage helps portray that “human side” we discussed in the live-action entry, while the animation content can add a new layer that can be used to strengthen the message in play.

2.11. Rotoscope Animation Style

Rotoscopy is set apart from other types of animation styles because of the way the technique relates to live-action footage.

Initially, the animation artists used to take a live-action film and trace frame by frame on a glass panel (the rotoscope). Think about classic animated movies like Alice in Wonderlandthat’s how rotoscope animation looked back then.

Alice in Wonderland Behind The Scenes - Live Action Reference (1951) HD

Like many types of cartoon styles, the rotoscope animation process has evolved over time, and it’s now done chiefly through software, resulting in smoother and more realistic movements.

The style is frequently used in live-action commercials and movies to make the actors interact with animated characters or objects – but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an entire video made with rotoscope animation!

Pharrell Williams ‘Happy’ Rotoscope Animation

2.12. Mechanical Video Animation Style

Mechanical Animation depicts a photorealistic representation of a mechanical object and uses 3D animation to showcase its inner-working.

This type of video style is clearly a go-to option for those in the mechanical systems or automobile industry, but it’s also an ideal medium to showcase the industrial process of any manufactured item, even food products!

Interestingly, this is one of the few types of animation styles whose functionality goes beyond the marketing and cinema industry. It’s also commonly used in product development for creating engineering prototypes.

Shell DYNAFLEX Technologien

2.13. Cut-Out Animation Video Style

Cut-out animation was born as a stop-motion technique that’s still used to this day. What’s unique about this type of cartoon style is that the characters and objects are made from illustrations or photos cut out from paper, cardboard, or fabric.

In its original form, this style is as laborious as any regular stop-motion production. However, cut-out animation has evolved into a digital video animation style, using scanned pictures or vector graphics, which makes things much easier.

Nowadays, digital cut-out animation is one of the most used types of animation styles in the marketing arena. It gives birth to explainer videos with a childlike charm that are fun to watch and simple to make, but it’s important to note that the style tends to lack the high-end finish that most businesses desire in their animation content.

2.14. HUD Animation

This is a different cartoon style than what you are used to seeing in marketing.

HUD Animation was born from videogames, where Head-Up Displays are used to provide users with information in a visual way. The background is usually kept transparent so the user can still see the display without taking their eyes off the game.

If you don’t play video games, you may still recognize this type of animation style from sci-fi movies in which characters visualize data on a transparent screen, like in the example below!

In marketing, HUD animation is often used as an explainer video type for addressing futuristic or tech-related products or services. Pretty cool, huh?

All Iron Man HUD Scenes (up to Endgame)

2.15. Plexus Video Animation Style

Looking for an innovative look? Then you should check out this cartoon style. It’s a kind of motion graphic animation that consists of interconnected dots and lines forming a figure.

Like many other types of animation styles, it’s frequently used in movies’ intros or credits, but it can also be easily leveraged to market tech or space-themed products or services. You see, this video style has a futuristic aspect that can give your brand a high-tech look; similar but more versatile than HUD animation.

Space and Time (Plexus 2)

3. Need an Animated Explainer Video? Here’s How Yum Yum Videos Can Help

Having been in the business for a while now, we have put together a team capable of producing fully customized, effective video marketing pieces that bring your message to life!

Our secret? An uncompromising focus on truly listening to our client’s needs.

Whether you are looking to promote an upcoming product release or event, attract new customers, increase sales, or raise awareness among a specific target audience… at Yum Yum Videos, your goals are our compass.

We tailor-make our videos around those goals, employing the strategies and types of animation styles that fit those objectives best. That makes all of our videos unique and allows us to tackle even the most complex or abstract concepts when your message requires it.

We have detail-oriented minds, which reflects on our working philosophy and the high-end results we always strive for. Naturally, listening to ourclient’s feedback and aligning our vision with their expectations is an integral part of our process. One that gives our clients ample opportunity to provide input and shape the video’s creation just the way they want it.

It’s an awesome process we’ve refined over years of working with hundreds of brands from all over the globe. From small startups to famous Fortune 500 companies like Walmart, McKesson, DocuSign, and RedBull. However, you don’t have to just take our word for it! Here’s how our clients feel about working with us:

At Yum Yum Videos, we work with great passion, dedication, and care because we love what we do! And we make sure that our videos show it, regardless of the type of cartoon style. Most importantly, we want our clients to be the lynchpin of our process and end up delighted with the outcome.

So, if you’re ready to get that awesome explainer video for your company, reach out today, and let’s talk about it!

4. Summing Up

As mentioned at the beginning, you can think of each different type of animation style as a particular flavor! And just because you wouldn’t season that steak you have on the grill with sugar, it doesn’t mean that salt will be the choice every time.

It all depends on what you are cooking, and the same thing happens with explainer video types.

You might have an idea to show to the world or a message you want to deliver in the best possible way. Different styles of videos allow you to do just that while keeping the spice of life – variety – readily at hand.

The result? Delicious and unique marketing pieces that help put your brand in people’s minds!

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