Animation vs. Illustration

Animation Illustration blog image

To many, the differences between animation and illustration may seem obvious. Animators and Illustrators alike will be quick to explain the difference between these two visual mediums. But often, businesses will request an illustration when what they are really looking for is an animation to convey their message or vice versa. In this article, we will highlight the differences, provide several examples and give a basic explanation of the two and how they can be used.

The Moving Image

Animation is a series of images in sequence to simulate movement. Many things can be animated, not just characters! Illustrations can be prepped to have moving parts to become an animation. Even text with movement and the right design can be very eye-catching.

Animation draws attention!

Animation isn’t just for kids. Historically, the first animations were made for adults as a fun spectacle before their feature movie started. We see people every day but we don’t get to see shapes, characters and words move around in reality. Over time animation has become a great way to show the personality of a brand on multiple levels. 

If you need to explain what your company does, but long segments of copy just don’t cut it for your audience’s attention span, animations are a great solution. With animations, you’re able to get across your message and the audience might even enjoy receiving it.

Maybe you want to show how your product works in a different way. Adding characters and placing them in situations can really make your audience relate to your product and they can even picture themselves using it. The animation we did for Froogle is a great example.

Or maybe you want to show something a little more abstract like capturing the creative process as we did with our menu design for Baja Haus. We used custom illustrations combined with color and type treatments to capture the popular restaurant’s personality. Using static images, we animated the process to show how we arrived at the final design. The strategy can be used to highlight almost any production or development process to highlight the numerous steps it took to arrive at the final product.

Another example comes from work we did for a local toy store, The Owl and the Octopus. When we first developed the store name and logo, we included two kid-friendly mascots, Olivia the Owl and Oswald the Octopus. The character-driven brand demanded a strong backstory on who the mascots were and how they met. This story began in printed form as a children’s book and later evolved into an animated format. The animation extended the reach of the original message for more effective use on social and the website.

The Still Image

Illustrations by definition are static images that are drawn or painted. Illustration can be used to convey everything from early stage concepts to final images. Fuzzy Duck uses illustration as a tool in nearly all their service categories – pencilling out logo concepts, developing different styles for mascots or characters, product illustrations, website wireframes, stylized posters, and infographics just to name a few.

Print is alive and well!

Just because we live in a digital age doesn’t mean we should shy away from print! There’s something magical about being able to hold something physical in your hands. Illustrations can be thought-provoking and weave a more personal story that relies a little more on the audience’s imagination. 

As we mentioned earlier, The Owl and the Octopus tiny book, inspired by golden books, has a very nostalgic feel of craftsmanship. This little book has become an adorable piece of marketing that customers are able to take with them after shopping in the store, reminding them of where they just made their purchase.

owl and the octopus tiny book cover

We used the illustrations from the tiny book, shortened the story and created a full-page printed insert for the Wayzata Life magazine.

When you want something illustrated, you usually think of something book-related with pages. But there’s so much more! Our client, Marvel Sewer and Drain, uses illustration throughout much of their marketing. They have themed vehicle wraps, business cards, and even service stickers that are memorable and very fun to look at. Marvel’s Super Team illustrations are used in all aspects of their marketing, creating a strong voice for their brand messaging.

Marvel Sewer Drain Van
Marvel Sewer Drain Trailer
Marvel Sewer Drain Business Card
Marvel Sewer Drain service sticker

Even if you’re not trying to sell a service or product, you can use illustrations for many other things, such as informing people about important messages that you want your customers and audience to know about. Like this sign that we designed for JJ’s Clubhouse dog-friendly patio. Adding these cute puppy illustrations to their sign grabs your attention and makes the Patio Pup Rules more fun to read.

JJ's Clubhouse Pup Rules Sign

Getting animated on social media!

Social media is ripe with branded illustrations and video marketing these days, with pocket-size screens available to most of the world, it only makes sense to utilize strong images to help engage with this audience? Even though the market can be heavily saturated with visual stimuli, you can still stand out with the right design and message. 

One example of short-form messaging enhanced by animation are the video ads Fuzzy Duck created for use in Milwaukee Burger Company’s social media campaigns, and they wanted those videos to be fun, humorous and full of energy. By animating text and creating moving parts for their burgers, wings, and beverages, we were able to deliver these mouth-watering ads to the client with just the right amount of humor.

FYI: Did you know that social media video posts draw more engagement and outperform static image posts by 73%? This includes live videos, animations, and GIFs. 

Which is better?

In our opinion, BOTH these mediums can and should be used together in client messaging. Create a graphic world around your brand that allows your audience to feel like they’re getting more out of your products and services. Animations and illustrations aren’t just fun to look at, they add a new level of value to your brand’s overall appearance.

If you’re interested in creating an illustration or animation for your brand or would like to learn more about the process, give Fuzzy Duck a call. We’d love to chat with you and show you how a custom animation, illustration, or both can help your brand stand out!

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