If you’re interested in graphic design – whether that’s because you want to pursue it as a career, because you want to develop it as a skill or side hustle, or you just think graphic design is awesome – there is a strong chance you've heard about motion graphics designers.

Motion graphics design, also known as just motion design or "MoGraph" if you’re hip, can be considered a major growth area of graphic design. Improvements in technology and software combined with a massive increase in the number of screens we interact with daily mean that motion graphic design is almost everywhere.

Motion design is the application of motion to graphic design – motion design uses techniques like animation and visual effects to bring graphics to life. It’s important to note that motion graphics is part of animation.

Are you looking to learn more about what motion design is? Our article goes into detail about its definition, history, use cases, and trends.

Right now, you might feel inspired to become a motion designer, but before you charge ahead, you need to know what a motion graphic specialist does. So, let’s dive in and talk about the day-to-day realities of motion design and the skills you’ll need to succeed in the field.

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What kinds of tasks does a motion designer perform?

The kind of work that a motion graphics designer does is largely determined by the project scope and the size of their creative team.

Firstly, they need to meet with internal and external clients to understand the scope of a job. For external clients, they need to work out their needs and desires and figure out how they can meet them. For internal clients, it’s a similar process but more geared towards working out what part of the overall job they’ll be working on.

Deadlines will also need to be set and met, and there will most often be rounds of feedback for changes and improvements. In some cases, an independent or freelance motion graphic designer can take care of all of a project's aspects, but most often, they’ll be part of a team.

A motion graphic designer can work on a wide range of design-related tasks, including 2D storytelling, 3D computer-generated graphics (CGI), animated typography, motion illustrations, and more.

In general, a motion designer’s responsibilities are: 

  • Creating storyboards and concepts for motion graphics.
  • Animating graphics, text, and illustrations.
  • Using 3D and 2D software for animation.
  • Adding sound effects and music.
  • Collaborating with other creatives like graphic designers, videographers, and copywriters.
  • Looking out for any emerging trends and implementing them in the projects

What kind of area will be worked in results from the kinds of projects the designer is working on.

"Based on what I'm seeing, motion design trends include: mixed media—analog art forms like collage and animated typography with motion, illustration animations, colorful designs with animation, and even more AI-generated images being used in design."—Pyae Phyo Hlaing, Junior Marketing Designer at Linearity

What kinds of projects do motion designers work on?

One of the best ways to understand what a motion graphic designer does is to look at examples of common projects and jobs that they work on.

The potential scope of these projects is almost unlimited, but here are some common areas.

Film and TV title design

‍One of the earliest instances and applications of motion graphics was in the creation of film titles and credits for motion pictures.

This video content area has continued to evolve and flourish and is now widely considered an art form in and of itself. Studios and artists are dedicated to this craft, and the best film and TV titles are often as iconic as the movies or shows.

If you become a motion designer, you could find yourself working on the next big blockbuster or viral TV hit.

Explainer videos and infographics

‍There is a very strong chance that you’ve been scrolling through your social media feed and found your attention captivated by an animated video or infographic that uses graphics to explain a concept.

This type of cinematic technique can be used to make processes easier to understand, such as how vaccines work. It can also be used to make information easier to comprehend, such as how much the world population has grown in the past century.

Animated logos

‍News programs and TV stations were some of the pioneers of using motion design for their logos, and with the rise of the internet and mobile domains, animated logos can now appear in many more contexts.

Animating an app logo for its loading screen or adding motion to the logo on a company website can elevate the use of logos to a whole other level, and 3D logo animation is becoming ever more popular. A motion graphics designer can take a static logo and make it a dynamic, eye-catching wonder.

Kinetic typography

‍When text is animated or moves in any way, this is known as kinetic typography, and it can be used in various situations.

When a film's title is animated and transformed during the title sequence, this is kinetic typography. When text moves around the screen during an advert, this is also kinetic typography.

Motion graphic designers are adept at taking emotive motion graphics and making text speak through movement.


‍Creating engaging and captivating adverts is a core area for many motion graphics designers and agencies.

Many promotional motion graphics and techniques can be used to produce adverts and video advertising, including animation, kinetic typography, visual effects, and more.

The best ads are the ones that tell a good, heartwarming story. My favorite ad of all time is the Apple ‘Share your gifts’ Christmas Ad.”—Maddy Zoli, Senior Designer at Linearity

What skills does a motion designer need?

By now, you should know what a motion designer does – but how do they do it?

What kinds of skills do you need to develop to become a motion designer? This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are some essential traits all motion graphics designers have.

Graphic design skills

‍OK, we know that it might seem completely obvious that a motion graphics designer needs graphic design skills (the clue is in the name), but we want to highlight it, especially as it really is such a central part of the design process.

Technically, you can be a motion graphics designer who just works with creative assets that a designer has already made, and you just set these graphics in motion, but working in this way would be very limited.

Having advanced knowledge of how graphic design elements are created and being able to create them yourself using the available tools is considered fundamental to being a good motion graphics designer.

Technical skills

‍This might be even more self-evident than needing graphic design skills, but it’s worth drawing attention to.

Almost all of the work in motion graphic design happens on a computer. Sure, you can sketch ideas down by hand (this is a really good thing to do, by the way), but when it comes to bringing your ideas to life, it will take computer hardware and motion graphics software to bring your designs to life.

You’ll need to have a good general understanding of operating systems work and an ability to work with industry-standard design programs and animation software like Linearity Move and Adobe After Effects.

You won’t need to master every program immediately, but you’ll need a good level of general technical skill to progress.

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A keen understanding of animation

‍One of the key techniques of motion design is animation. You’ll need to have a deep knowledge of the principles and styles of animation.

Bringing 2D vector-based graphics to life by adding movement and motion means that designers need to know how to create animations. You’ll need to come to grips with concepts like timing, perspective, position, light sources, and procedural animation.

Knowing these animation fundamentals will help bring your designs to life. You can learn more about animation in Linearity's Academy and other online animation courses.

Ready to create brand assets that pack a punch?

Visit our Academy for free motion design courses.

An understanding of color theory‍

You might think that understanding color theory is not as important as knowing how to use software or how to animate effectively, but you’d be wrong.

Every piece of motion design you work on will involve color theory.

You need to understand how colors can convey various moods and feelings and know how to properly use color schemes in your work. The best motion graphics designers not only use motion to bring graphics to life but also use color to communicate messages and invoke feelings.

Creativity and originality‍

Developing your own fun style as a motion graphics designer is arguably the most challenging skill to develop.

Whereas learning software and new techniques can happen by just putting in the hours, creativity doesn’t operate in this same way. Creativity is more of a soft skill but also one you can develop with practice. Take inspiration from other sources and try to add your own twists.

Don’t be afraid to try and lead your clients in new directions. Often, a client will only have a rough idea of what they want, and you can find ways to get them to try new things and ideas. The more work and jobs you do, the more you’ll develop your own signature style and improve your creative skills.

How to become a motion graphics designer

There’s no single path to becoming a motion graphics designer.

If you really want to, you can launch your career in a completely autodidactic way. You can learn the techniques and learn the software on your own, then build up a personal portfolio of work, and then use this to either gain experience with an agency or to look for jobs yourself.

Looking for helpful motion design resources to further your design career? Check out our motion design toolbox.

Almost all potential employers will want you to have a degree in the field, be that in graphic design or a related discipline. But, arguably more important than studying is working experience.

Once you’re an experienced motion designer, you can work in various different careers, such as: storyboarding, character animation, creative or art direction, concept art, compositing, editing, illustration, producing, and, of course, motion graphics design.

If you want to land a job as a motion graphics designer, we have one piece of advice: get moving.

If you're eager to start a career in motion graphics, you'll probably need a vector graphics tool. Get started with Linearity’s software suite for free on your iOS, iPad, and Mac devices to start creating animated characters, objects, and logos. Check out our special pricing for professionals, teams, and education.

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What does a motion designer do? | Linearity
What does a motion designer do? | Linearity