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Discover the intricacies of motion design in UI/UX, how iconic brands are leveraging the art of design in motion, and the best of motion design in music.

Movement In Our Human Evolution

Since the dawn of mankind, we've been designed to move. A constant quest of new places to gather food and avoid dangers — is a pretty good summary of conditions human brain was formed in.

If we had remained static, survival would have been impossible.

How we react towards motion has its roots in the fight or flight response. When something moves, we’ve been designed to notice and perceive it as a potential threat, so we pay close attention to it.

In a nutshell, movement attracts attention and causes us to pause and assess its relevance to us, while lack of motion does the opposite. 

In terms of communication, moving messages on and off-screen, speeding up or slowing down — triggers our instincts, capturing attention.  

We know that our brains translate visual information 60,000 times faster than text and that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. 

Motion design builds on these principles to create an engaging experience while delivering communication objectives.

When it comes to communicating messages to an audience, Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research concludes that one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words to a consumer.

While the movement has always been an innate part of humans, we’ve also mastered the art of motion to leverage it to our advantage. We’ve collected a couple of cases of how various industries are transformed by motion design:

UI / UX 

Motion design is an essential part of the mobile and web experience. It’s eye-catching and can be used to tell the story and guide a user through the desired journey.  

It enables us to provide greater context and a deeper level of clarity for the user, making their actions more thoughtful and pleasurable.

Remember the last time you wrote the wrong password on your smartphone and saw that horizontal shake

That’s one of the ways how motion design has helped enhance UI/UX in communicating an intended message, in this instance, a wrong password. 

This gesture is instantly recognizable and gives the user an immediate understanding of the problem.

When kept familiar and consistent, motion cues develop a new language in which the user becomes more familiar, making communication easier and effective.

What about deleting an item and seeing the macOS Thrash Can wobble? This motion cue has been synonymous with an action that reaffirms that the files have already been deleted. And this idea was implemented even more creatively back in Mac Plus:

Another ‘file delete’ motion is seeing the items blur and shrink off-screen which has also been used to represent that the file has been completely deleted, disappearing into oblivion.

The pull-to-refresh act where a ‘wheel’ icon pops up and continuously spins to indicate that the app/content is being refreshed. This iconic motion cue has become addictive, hardwiring us to anticipate something new in excitement.

The swipe-to-open action is animated with an arrow bouncing upwards, to invite and encourage the necessary gesture.

In a user journey, motion design navigates actions by highlighting interrelations between elements, action availability, and action outcomes, while also highlighting what's important — without creating any unnecessary distraction.

When used aptly, motion design can meet multiple objectives to improve the usability of the interface


In advertising, capturing attention has always been the ultimate goal. Each day a consumer is confronted with up to 10,000 ads a day, and that's according to research done in 2007. 

With the constant bombardment of advertisement messages, it’s all about the attention economy, a reality where fighting for the user’s attention is the epitome of effective marketing.

That’s why motion design in advertising has never been more important than now.  Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when reading it in text.

A Hubspot study found that 83% of marketers would increase their reliance on video as a strategy if there were no obstacles like time, resources, and budget.

The cost of video production is the only thing holding companies back.

With the need to constantly populate their channels with content to engage audiences, brands have turned to motion design.

The cost is much lower, and the output is much faster. Of course, that depends on the complexity of the animated film. Brands are working with very tight timelines and churning out reactive ads in response to their competition, animated films are much faster - as quick as a day to produce bite-sized content.

However, the use of motion design goes way beyond that. For Apple Event 2020, the beginning of the video started off by taking the journey on a ‘roller coaster’ ride in an animated colourful tunnel. 

It brought excitement and kept the user in anticipation to discover more, finally bringing the viewer to Apple Park, corporate headquarters of Apple Inc.

The motion design, in the beginning, set the stage for Tim Cook to start his presentation and prepped the viewer in excitement.

Google has leveraged motion graphics well in their videos, whether it’s for tutorials, ads, or content.  

The recent Google Ads Tutorial for growing holiday sales with Google shopping ads communicates its message with attention-grabbing motion graphics, making what would be somewhat dry to be more entertaining. 

By simplifying the message and supporting it with visual graphics, the video is more digestible, comprehensible, and easy to watch, capturing the attention of the viewer throughout the video. 

Content like that can’t help but attract an audience. 

Brands have also leveraged motion graphics and used it on their logo sign-offs in their videos.  

By adding motion to the logos, they become more memorable, eye-catching, and adds a touch of character to the brand.  

The next time you watch your favorite commercials, pay attention to the end bit when the logos appear, and take note of the accompanying animation.

Iconic brands like Coca Cola, FedEx, Verizon, and MasterCard have their own signature logo animation and coupled with the corresponding signature sound effects, leave a lasting imprint in the minds of their consumers. 


While motion design takes a central role in tech and advertising spheres, one place where it has been carving a unique niche is the music industry.

Motion design takes music up a notch by telling the story of the song and drawing the audience to immerse in a whole new world.  

As an art form that connects with people by triggering emotions, motion design complements music harmoniously in elevating its performance. 

A great example is Gorillaz, a British virtual band created in 1998 by musician Damon Albarn and artist Jamie Hewlett.  

The band primarily consists of four animated members - Stuart ‘2D’ Pot, Murdoc Niccals, Noodle, and Russel Hobbs.

As a virtual band, they appear in animation through music videos, interviews, and even concerts. 

Motion design has also taken the main stage to draw the crowd into an immersive experience with the music. 

In this instance, motion design enhances the music performance in raising the energy of the crowd, syncing perfectly well with the beats of the music. 

Motion design. Moving with the trends. 

Motion design presents a lot of promising career opportunities. Leveraged well, it speaks visually and effectively to the target audience, triggering instincts and grabbing attention, while also helping improve conversion rates, time spent, CTR, social shares and deliver higher engagement.  

Whether it’s within a design agency, an advertising firm, digital boutique, or even as a freelancer, raising the bar of creativity is going to be spearheaded towards motion design and its importance will only grow by leaps and bounds. 

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