Branding in Motion: A Roundtable with the Emotive Brand Design Team

Branding in Motion

In 2019, everything is alive. We communicate in GIFs, message effects, and video chats. Billboards are digital, bus ads are responsive, push notifications are synchronized. Give a glossy magazine to any child under five and chances are they will try to “scroll down” the page with one index finger.

The most forward-thinking companies are using motion – whether through kinetic type, animation, or mixed reality like AR and VR – to broaden the emotional impact of their brand. I sat down with the creative team at Emotive Brand to discuss the link between motion and emotion, and how B2B brands should be thinking about enhancing their digital experiences.

First off, what’s your role and how do you think about motion in your work?

Tracy Lloyd, Founding Partner: At Emotive Brand, we’re constantly thinking about how a brand behaves in space – whether that space is their category, the online space in which they appear, or the space they are trying to hold in peoples’ hearts and minds. In the beginning, motion used to be considered something only the cool kids could implement. Today, on the user side, motion is absolutely expected – yet you still see some B2B brands that are hesitant to wield it. Our job is to show them how motion can be an incredible activation tool for a brand to stand out in a crowded digital environment. Anything that evokes stronger feelings will create a stronger connection between brands and the people that use them.

Thomas Hutchings, Creative Director: Motion is adding another dimension, another layer, a new way of seeing. It’s activating another part of the senses, and when it comes to creating a brand, why would you deny that? Anything that has motion triggers a new sense or emotion in your mind. When things are static, they can lack empathy. Even a subtle amount can add so much. I almost think of it as another crayon in the box – maybe even the white crayon. It’s the one that B2B clients might not specifically request, but once it gets layered it, the end result is more rich and complex.

Keyoni Scott, Designer: I think of motion as a way to enhance any experience. In college, I studied film and media production, and I tend to approach design from the perspective of a filmmaker. Films are all about evoking emotion. Whatever movie you see, you at least want to walk away having felt something. Learning the ins and outs of how directors use motion for storytelling and to spark emotion was very influential for me, and it’s something I try to apply to design.

Alberto Carvajal, Senior Product Designer: For me, motion gives meaning. From a UX perspective, you think of all the different ways in which motion can create interactions or open new doors for users. It activates and brings to life otherwise flat objects – whether it’s from full-blown animation or a simple playfulness using parallax perspective. From apps and pages to the way we communicate with our team, motion opens, activates, and gives meaning.

In our work, we often partner with B2B brands that don’t have as much creative freedom as their B2C counterparts. If they use motion, it is usually relegated to an explainer video. How would you approach incorporating motion in a more holistic way to enhance their digital brand?

TL: I think the creative difference between B2B and B2C is a false limitation that brands put upon themselves. Whether you’re selling to businesses or to customers, people make decisions based off of emotion, creativity, and experience. There is a massive opportunity here for those B2B brands that are willing to invest and investigate better ways of telling their story to their target audience.

TH: Limiting your creative approach, in the beginning, is like eliminating a muscle before you even try using it. If you’re a brand today, think of how difficult it is to be unique and differentiated in this market. Everything has been created already, but it’s through layers and execution that you get at truly unique combinations. Motion is another way of getting at the unique layer of a brand. To B2B brands, I say this: don’t limit your brand on the basis of tradition. Brands shouldn’t have any limits for where they can go in vehicles of delivery. They should be able to flex in any space. Why would you ever want to limit the strength of a brand?

What are some gorgeous examples of motion that you love?

AC: In terms of a studio I look up to, DIA is doing amazing work bringing motion and kinetic systems to the branding world. They were the ones behind the latest Squarespace identity. The way they convey meaning through motion is amazing.

TH: DIA took a higher-level concept of space and did it very simply, without too many bells and whistles. It’s literally a square in space, but the velocity of it adds so many levels. When I think about a fully immersive experience, I can’t help but think of teamLab. There’s such a high level of curiosity, wondering exactly what will react with you and what you can inform.

AC: OMSE is another studio exploring motion through different layers, apps, and experimental open spaces. Agenda 2020 was an exhibition exploring the graphic possibilities enabled by emerging technology, from variable fonts to augmented reality.

TH: With every technological jump, all we’re doing is finding new ways to make emotions even more powerful. I can’t even imagine what brands will look like in ten years’ time, or the innovative ways they will implement to spark feeling. All I know is that the brands that will stick around in your mind will be the ones willing to take risks.

To learn more about how your brand can use motion to elevate emotion, contact Founding Partner Tracy Lloyd at tracyl@emotivebrand.com.

Emotive Brand is a brand strategy and design agency in San Francisco.

Image credit: David Urbinati
Video credit: Sascha Lobe, DIA, OMSE

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