Amazing 2D Animation Styles (with examples) and why they work!

Amazing 2D Animation Styles and why they work!

Don’t let the 2D animation style get you down!

If you’re starting an animation project, you’re probably already thinking about all the 2D animation styles that could be used. 

We get it; there are so many 2D animation styles it can be challenging to know which path to take, so we have created this handy guide with what we think are the ten most effective 2D animation styles to help you choose the perfect one for your brand!

First, what is 2D animation?

2D animation or two-dimensional animation combines artistic techniques and media design that creates the illusion of movement in a two-dimensional environment.

That doesn’t sound very exciting. 

But what if we said…

2D animation allows you to bring brilliant ideas to life through amazingly engaging animation in a style that fits your brand perfectly. 

Sounds more exciting right? 

So let’s get into those 2D animation styles you’ve been patiently waiting to learn about!

1. Kinetic Typography

Have you got a bold, brilliant message that could do with even more energy? Then Kinetic Typography is the perfect 2D animation style for you. 

This Typography based animation style is easily tailored to your brand, so if you’re looking to build brand awareness effortlessly Veeqo has taken full advantage of this engaging 2D animation style and was thrilled to see how their messaging had been brought to life, making it even more memorable!

Three reasons you should go for effective Kinetic typography

2. Vibrant nostalgia

This 2D animation style has started to grow in popularity over the last two years, and we have found clients are asking for this style more and more. 

It is especially effective when telling brilliant brand stories because storytelling always works better than just selling. 

The style involves layering different assets throughout the animation; these tend to be older images, newspaper cuttings and even some kinetic typography to give the whole animation a cohesive style. Our clients, Renold, have utilised this 2D animation style brilliantly with their look back at how far the company has come since it was founded in the early 1800s.

3. Motion Graphics

You’d be right if you think you’ve heard this one before, and we completely understand if you don’t really understand what makes it different from other types of 2D animation styles. 

Truth be told, it is similar and certainly has elements that you will find in other animation styles, but with Motion Graphics more focused towards graphic elements, text and timing.

This is the style we see many of our clients leaning towards these days, and most of the projects we complete will have an element of motion graphics. (We love an unusual transition.) 

It is a super effective way of getting a punchy message across, like this one from Limestone grey!

Utilising their strong brand identity to create this piece full of an engaging tone of voice and exciting movement will help their audience understand their messaging earlier and also help to build brand awareness.

Did you know?

The first examples of Motion graphics are from the 1940s! Oskar Fischinger and Norman Mclaren were leading the way. Over the years, with motion design technology becoming more accessible, it has exploded, and now you can see examples everywhere.

4. Monochrome

This style is bold and brave! However, you’ve got to be committed to your brand colours, as this 2D animation style only uses black and white or varying tones of a single colour. 

Monochrome animations employ this limited colour palette to produce a bold, eye-catching style. Utilising shadows and lighting is vital to making sure the animation doesn’t look flat and to amazing monochrome animation.

This 2D animation style is popular with brands that are looking to;

We saw an opportunity to use this 2D animation style when working with Love Nursing, which had a perfectly purple brand.*

*Since first working with the wizards, Love Nursing expanded their colour palette and returned to the Wizards wondering if we could work our magic to add their colours into this brilliant animation.

5. Character animation

Now, most of the above examples might have had a character or two in them, but they were also utilising other techniques, which in some ways can make building those characters simpler. 

We are talking about brilliantly animated characters that come alive in every scene. This technique is almost always 100% hand-drawn and is what our lead animation wizard Gareth loves to do the most! (Especially animal characters)

Did you know?

Character animators are sometimes said to be “actors with a pencil” (Or a Wacom!) 

When watching this brilliant character animation we created with Oscar Kilo, you can see how much emotion those hand-drawn characters can take on.

This 2D animation style gives your animation a much more organic feeling, which, when dealing with difficult or emotional topics, can lead to a better experience for the viewer watching.

6. Explainer Animation

When bringing a new piece of software of a brand new product to market, it can be difficult to get across all the amazing features and why people need them through static marketing, which is how the 2D animated explainer video has burst onto the scene.

With people’s attention spans decreasing and the amount of time people spent on their phones and electronic devices increasing, marketing managers realised they had to find a new way to sell their services and products.

This has led to considerable demand for this 2D animation style, including some slightly dodgy “whiteboard” animations that have become all of the rage but aren’t very effective.

Here at Tiny Wizard Studio, you won’t find a single whiteboard animation because we don’t believe you can stand out in the sea of sameness by just doing what everyone else is.

We create bespoke engaging explainer animations and find that they are especially good at explaining new computer programs simply. Just like Cegedim, who commissioned this animated explainer about their pharmacy manager program. (As well as a host of other assets and more animations!)

7. Isometric animation

Fake it till you make it: Isometric animation is a 2D animation style that gives the impression of an intricate 3D. It is a unique way of presenting visuals by drawing three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional planes.

In animation, this style allows the audience to view multiple layers of a scene at once, like the brilliant Lumin animation, which cleverly showcases three different Lumin Accountancy services.
This animation, which NEST Wales commissioned, needed to show multiple areas where children may have a support network, helping to explain how the new NEST scheme would help support children across wales.

Three top tips on creating an isometric design

  • Research and create a mood board 
  • Start small 
  • Peice your shapes together

8. Pixel Art animation

Similar to the vibrant nostalgia style, pixel art is a 2D animation style that will connect with your audience emotionally and look aesthetically pleasing.

The style is instantly recognisable with its origins in the early days of video game production.

However, even though video game technology has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, pixel art has made a comeback through indie games that have decided to stick with this classic style.

Recently pixel art has also been used by some of the biggest companies, like this bus stop ad from Mcdonalds’. Which showed how well Mcdonald’s customers know their menu.

Bringing a pixel art style into an animation will make your ad more memorable and stand out from the crowd. As well as allowing your story to be told through fun, engaging characters.

Just like Web Marketer who was just about to launch a massive marketing campaign when they realised that they also needed an animation to help this campaign reach even more people. 

They were really happy to give the wizards creative freedom, and after learning about this project, we felt that the pixel art style would work with the gladiator-themed story they had been developing.

9. Vector animation

Let’s start at the beginning. What are Vector Graphics?

They are computer graphics in which visual images are created directly from geometric shapes. (Usually in Adobe Illustrator) They are easier to edit than hand-drawn illustrations making them perfect for creating animations. 

Vector animation can take less time than hand-drawn animation, and a lot of the time can be created using stock vector graphics. Which is something we don’t do here. Whether using vector graphics or hand-drawn designs, every animation is created bespoke just for you. But Vector graphics are not just handy to edit. They are also a great way to give an animation a clean, crisp look. Vector graphics also tend to have a more modern feel. A great example of this super clean 2D animation style is this video we created for Cambrian Alliance. With a complicated message, this animation for Cambrian Alliance needed some bold, clear imagery to help get their message across.

10. Mix and match 2D animation styles

Last but not least is the 2D animation style used most in the Tiny Wizard Studio. It’s a mix-and-match of vector imagery and hand-drawn assets. The best bits of both are showcased in this brilliant animation we created for The Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Due to budget constraints, we mixed vector-built backgrounds with detailed hand-drawn bumblebees to create an animation that brilliantly fitted the client’s brief.

Which Superstar 2D animation styles will put you in the spotlight?

When working with the wizards, you can be sure that we will find the perfect style for your animation that works perfectly with your brand guidelines and brings your story to life differently. 

Are you ready to make your business the star of the show?

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